The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) concluded on December 15th in low spirits following a two-day extension due to limited progress. The 25th Climate Change Conference was held in Madrid, Spain, and began on December 2nd. The objective of COP25 was to create more severe commitments to address climate change and lower greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. The goal to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels established in the 2015 Paris Agreement will not likely be met; the world is on course to experience a 3- to 4-degree Celsius rise.
Delegates were not able to come to an agreement as it related to future pledges and the global carbon market – key decisions that will impact the capacity of the world to prevent a temperature increase above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Representatives from the nearly 200 countries left the conference in the hopes that COP26 would bring more significant resolutions.
Regardless of the perceived failures of the conference, important conversations were had in the department of adaptation. Adaptation projects tend to receive far less funding than mitigation projects. Countries have already agreed to contribute 2 percent of credits in the carbon market for the Adaptation Fund. Delegates were not able to agree on terms that would potentially increase the percentage of proceeds that go towards the fund and the implementation of measures that would eliminate loopholes around contributing to this fund.
Addressing the changing climate requires both mitigation efforts to limit the catastrophic progress of climate change and adaptation efforts to prevent the damaging impacts of climate change.  As more research is conducted and countries are provided with further evidence of the severity of climate change and the tremendous economic and social benefits of taking immediate action, we can hope that COP26 brings about more stringent mitigation and adaptation commitments.
To learn about PSD’s work with the Univeristy of Oxford to support community efforts to adapt to climate change, click here.