Despite clear and repeated demands from citizens in the street throughout the world in 2019, negotiators at COP25 in Madrid did not respond to the to call for action to address the climate crisis.
There were three critical issues that the Parties of the Paris Agreement were working on at COP25:
- A call for ambition for the next COP in 2020, where countries will need to present their enhanced emissions reductions targets;
- The question of international climate finance for the countries who are already suffering from loss and damage because of the climate crisis;
- Establishing robust rules for international carbon markets.
Unfortunately, because of continued obstruction by several countries who preferred to put fossil fuel industry interests ahead of their citizens, they failed in their negotiations.
The real climate action leaders
Indigenous Peoples, civil society, youth, unions and subnational states were the real climate action leaders at COP25, working to move things forward in a context where many parties remained fixed in their positions, defending the status quo. Civil society members, including Équiterre, pushed our governments on the three critical issues, while working to ensure the inclusion of human rights, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and a just transition for workers.
Citizen mobilization is more important than ever
The disappointing final outcomes of COP25 bring the fervent realization that if climate ambition is not going to come from international negotiations, we must scale up our efforts to ensure that the work gets done by citizen mobilization. The slow pace of negotiations at COP25 cannot be an excuse – we must keep up the pressure to ensure that all actors of society respond to the climate emergency: countries, provinces, cities, civil society, schools, businesses, etc.
“We are nearing a tipping point,” states Caroline Brouillette, Équiterre’s climate change expert, who followed the negotiations in Madrid. “Citizen mobilization has become so strong that invested fossil fuel interests are getting worried and pushing back. They may have been able to slow down the progress at COP, but the energy transition is inevitable. We all have to keep up the pressure at home.”