Published On: Mon, Dec 2nd, 2019

Climate Change: Cop25 Talks To Open As ‘Point Of No Return’ In Sight

Political leaders and climate diplomats are to meet in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis.

Climate Change Cop25

According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon”.

Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger.

The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts.

This conference of the parties, or COP25, was due to be held in Chile but was cancelled by the government due to weeks of civil disturbances.

Spain then stepped in to host the event, which will see 29,000 attendees over the two weeks of talks.

Speaking ahead of the meeting the UN secretary general said the climate crisis was imminent and political leaders had to respond.

“We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions,” Mr Guterres said.

Almost every country in the world has now signed and ratified the Paris climate agreement and under the terms of the pact they will all have to put new climate pledges on the table before the end of 2020.

Countdown to Glasgow

This meeting in Madrid signals the start of a frantic 12 months of negotiations that will culminate in Glasgow with COP26 in November next year.

Some 50 world leaders are expected to attend the meeting in the Spanish capital – but US President Donald Trump will not be among them.

“America remains the number one historic contributor to the climate emergency, and even Democratic politicians have never committed to taking responsibility for our fair share.”

The charity says that floods, landslides, drought and cyclones have put 33 million people at emergency levels of food insecurity. More than half of these are believed to be children.

The situation has been made worse because the two strongest cyclones ever to hit the African continent, affected the same region just weeks apart.

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi last March, while six weeks later Cyclone Kenneth slammed Mozambique with millions affected by flooding.

“The climate crisis is happening here, and it’s killing people, forcing them from their homes and ruining children’s chance of a future,” said Ian Vale from Save the Children.

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, will tell the meeting that the world is now facing a full-blown climate emergency.He will urge countries to significantly increase their carbon cutting ambitions. Subsidies for fossil fuel extraction must end, he said, and no new coal-fired power stations must be built after 2020.