What is COP25? Why should we listen to them?

I hope all of you are keeping their immunity routine up and running as we battle the COVID19. A mild workout routine within your respective living space is also recommended.

While the above is a request and a recommendation, we always wonder where these recommendations come from! Who made up the rules for this disease? Why should we even bother to listen to them? After all, who are these people who keep track of every new disease, every new discovery?

A new planet or star here, a new theory there, climate change awareness, global warming, finance market going kaput and a lot of other things! It’s like every other person on the planet has a new info and can start with a – “Did you know that….” fun fact routine.

Today we look at a “body” that sends us recommendations regarding our planet. Yes, someone is keeping track of the changes about what Mother Nature decides to wear today; not just today, these people can tell the fashion trend that nature decides in the next decade and even the next century given some tolerances, of course.

What is COP25?

COP sound straight out of a Hollywood movie with some authority. Remember, we used to have policeman on our lips; cop is the smaller version. Thank you Hollywood, for making it a sing-a-song for all the people across the globe!

However, COP25 is not a policeman but a regulatory body indeed. COP stands for “Conference of Parties” and is a body with people working on climate change from different nations come together annually. This “party” includes, government officials, international organizations, members from civil society, businesses, bankers, scientists, etc. working on climate policy to talk about solutions.

The first United Nations Climate Change conference (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties took place from 28 March to 7 April 1995 in Berlin, Germany.

On a serious note, this body convenes to bring together minds from all sectors working around the world to find answers to numerous climate issues. To put this into perspective, with respect to its importance, the COP has nearly 180+ countries in its ever-increasing list and their aim is to include all the nations in the world.

The 25 in COP stands for the 25th year of summit that was held in 2019. The objective of the meet was to raise the ambition for controlling carbon emissions as discussed in their previous significant undertaking, i.e. the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement was (quote)–

… a commitment by countries to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), setting out their national targets for reducing greenhouse gases and, in some cases, plans for adapting to the impacts of climate change and providing finance and other support to developing countries. These pledges are the foundation of the agreement. They are to be resubmitted to the United Nations every five years, and each must be more ambitious than the last.

Further to the Paris agreement, the convening countries decided to agree on a temperature deadline of less than 2 ºC. However, in the COP25, it was reviewed, and later decided that the countries must aim to keep their nation’s carbon emissions under control in such a way that the rising global temperature is limited under 1.5 ºC.

The latest UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) was held for two weeks from 2 December to 13 December in Madrid, Spain and Chile played the presidency host. Last year the summit was proactive with their ideas with the slogan – Time to act, as a call to “all countries to scale up their commitments to fighting climate change”.

What happened in COP25?

In 2019, the COP25 released two additional provisional reports one for the oceans and cryosphere and the other for land ecosystems. This is conjunction to the 1.5 ºC report that the was released in 2018 emphasizing the impact of the benchmark temperature and its colossal impact.

The reports confirmed that everyone needs to take action “now” and the challenge ahead is monumental and would require a “net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-21st century and keep it under the 1.5 ºC temperature range. By 2075, the temperature benchmark can be raised to the 2 ºC limit.

In a nutshell, if we want normalcy and survival of the human species then the carbon emissions must stop. Also the level must be contained significantly as the human species is definitely heading to an apocalyptic end and till then the survival is going to be painful as well as immensely difficult..

How is COP different from UN General Assembly and the Climate Summit(s)?

According to Dr. Jennifer Allan, a regular COP participant and host of International Institute of Sustainable Department (IISD), the COP is different from other bodies. She quotes –

“The UN General Assembly and the Climate Summit were about ambition: what countries were pledging to do for the climate. These forums were meant for high-level discussions and aimed at getting high-level buy-in for climate action. The COP is about the actual governance: setting rules, reviewing countries’ reports on their efforts and coordinating the actions of all the bodies working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).”

The 2019 COP had a “Blue” color theme and was known by many as Blue COP. It was a way to convey the close links between the health of the climate and the health of the ocean. According to the Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the impacts of climate change on the ocean and the ensuing consequences for low-lying areas and coastal communities were significantly emphasized.  Hence, Blue seemed to be the apt color for the summit.

Is COP enough?

Each COP has a particular role in the long-term process. However, we had numerous agencies and regulatory bodies citing rules for preserving the climate. But they all have been falling on ignorant ears – the ears that actively chose to refrain from hearing the cries of Mother Earth; but it seems that she had had enough.

The previous aim of COP was to build an ambition- an ambition for a future with harmonious existence. However, the hurdle with ambition is long-term perseverance and renunciation of temporary and personal benefits for now. It is hard to call such a move as sacrifice because we are here, at such a decision-point, because we had taken climate and our ecosystem for granted.

With this ambition, the aim is selflessness and a chance for other species and planet earth to live today so that we have a chance at living tomorrow. COP is a great initiative but your support is necessary for making this ‘ambitious venture’ a success.