UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.
Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.
As we step into 2020, time has come to implement the Paris Agreement and raise climate ambition, but the geopolitical tide seems to be against it. The best way forward at this crucial juncture might be to forge a ‘climate coalition of the willing’ – recognising and streamlining actions of all actors at all levels.
The latest climate talks unravelled when parties failed to reach consensus on the global carbon market mandated by the Paris Agreement. The carbon market controversy emerged amidst new tensions between a growing grassroots climate movement and the climate sceptic agenda of populist leaders. The ball is now in the court of the climate laggards, but they can only halt global climate action for so long.
This year’s annual UN climate conference, COP25 in Madrid, became the longest on record when it concluded after lunch on Sunday, following more than two weeks of fraught negotiations. It had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday.
As the second week of COP25 begins in Madrid, it is time to stress once more the importance of building momentum for adaptation. There is obviously a need for adaptation planning, implementation and financing. However, so far only seventeen countries have presented National Adaptation Plans (NAP) - despite international partners providing important support.
Climate action is best achieved through multilateral efforts involving an array of actors and stakeholders. The news coming out of climate talks can also be as wide and varied. To keep you posted on the latest happenings surrounding COP25 we'd like to share with you 10 of our favourite Twitter accounts.
At a briefing ahead of the COP25, foreign minister Heiko Maas called for higher ambition for the European Union, which should act as a role-model to encourage other states to boost their commitments to climate action. He further reiterated the importance of supporting multilateralism and an international climate regime that is able to withstand setbacks, such as the US withdrawal of the Paris Agreement.
Even as the US officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement earlier this week, it might be too soon to lose hope on the country's long-term commitments to climate action. If a Democrat wins the upcoming presidential elections, which are set for November 2020, a reaccession process could begin shortly after the withdrawal is complete. In the meantime, however, the effect on trade policy could be significant.
A group of five small countries have announced that they will launch negotiations on a new Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability, which, if successful, would constitute the first international trade agreement focused solely on climate change and sustainable development. The initiative also breaks new ground by aiming to simultaneously remove barriers for trade in environmental goods and services and crafting binding rules to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Small countries can pioneer the development of new trade rules that can help achieve climate goals, but making credible commitments, attracting additional participants, and ensuring transparency will be essential ingredients for long-term success.