Live blog: UN Climate summit in Madrid
Mick Wallace (Independents for Change, Ireland) and Idoia Villanueva Ruiz (Podemos, Spain) are in Madrid this week as part of the European Parliament delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25). This blog will be updated daily with live news of their efforts to push for ambitious climate commitments and radical action to tackle the climate emergency.
Monday, 9 December
MEP Idoia Villanueva participated in the forum #ImpulsaEuropa organised by Spanish public media. Speaking at the a panel she said that:
“the 10% wealthiest inhabitants of this earth are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions and own 52% of all wealth. This is why we believe it is unfair that those that contribute less to global warming are the ones suffering most of its consequences and have the fewest resources to protect themselves.”
Eurativ covered the forum and Idoia Villanueva’s participation in this piece.
From COP25 we hear that the rules proposed to protect communities from carbon-cutting projects have been eroded, raising fears human rights abuses under the previous system will be repeated.
You can read more about this worrying development here. GUE/NGL MEPs expected this to happen and last month they had proposed an amendment to the European Parliament’s COP25 resolution to ensure human rights safeguards in this mechanism. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass because right-wing groups voted against it.
“This further dilutes the potential rules and could jeopardise the integrity of the Paris Agreement,” says Erika Lennon, senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), who has closely followed the safeguards issue for years.
Last year’s UN Climate Change conference was sponsored by fossil fuel companies. Read about this scandal here.
This year again an army of fossil fuel lobbyists are in Madrid for the COP25 to shift blame away from them to our individual behaviour while the planet sinks deeper into climate chaos.
We made the this cartoon that sum up the hypocrisy.
Share the cartoon. Retweet.
Tuesday, 10 December
This morning, MEPs Mick Wallace and Idoia Villanueva met with Mr. Hiroyuki Yamada, Director of Marine Environment Division and Mr. Edmund Hughes, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency, from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Youth activist Greta Thunberg takes part in a panel on Climate Action :
MEP Idoia Villanueva sent us her thoughts from Madrid, especially on developments with Article 6, the emissions market:
MEP Mick Wallace wraps up his thoughts for the day:
Wednesday, 11 December
Teresa Ribera, Environment Minister for Spain, addressed the COP25 plenary, followed by Greta Thunberg. Her words: “I still believe that the biggest danger is not inaction. The real danger is when politicans/CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact almost nothing is done apart from clever accounting and creative PR.”
Finally the amazing Hilda Nakabuye, from Uganda. Watch Nalabuye’s inspiring speech at September’s UN General Assembly.
Read this thread and watch the videos by GUE/NGL political advisor Damien Thomson on the COP25 youth occupation.
Among the slogans shouted: “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil” and “Respect indigenous rights, so we can win this fight”
Although not part of the official European Parliament delegation, GUE/NGL MEP Petros Kokkalis has also joined the negotiations at COP25.
Commission von der Leyen had big words today for her European Green Deal but little of essence. Even the previous Commission bragged about how the EU was a leader in the fight against global warming. Well, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report was published today, to coincide with COP25, and it ranks the EU as “medium-performing”. The report says:
“The European Union (EU) – the only supranational entity eval-u ated in the index – is ranked 22nd in this year’s CCPI and slips back into the group of medium-performing countries. As a whole, the EU accounts for about 9% of global GHG emis-sions. The EU receives medium ratings in the categories GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy and Energy Use as it is currently not on track to meet its under-ambitious 2030 targets. “
The Left has warned that the EU is not serious about its climate targets. Instead of putting money behind its objectives, it continues to rely on private-initiative, non-binding objectives and austerity. This is one reason why we are sceptical about the European Green Deal and have launched today our radical policy plan.
MEPs Idoia Villanueva, Petros Kokkalis, Mick Wallace met with civil society organisations and talked about climate finance, loss and damage (where the EU is playing a negative role) and human rights safeguards for article 6 mechanisms.
Meetings were also held with parliamentary delegations from South Africa, Mexico, Russia – that recently ratified the Paris Agreement – Japan and the chair of the IPCC Dr. Hoesung Lee. In the last meeting, Mick Wallace asked about the potential of wave energy.
Who is blocking the negotiations in COP25?
As COP25 comes near a close, we review the stakeholders blocking progress in climate action. Here’s our top 5:
1- the United States
The world’s second biggest polluter, and the world’s biggest industrial and commercial power, should be a leader in climate action. At the beginning of November, President Trump formally notified the UN that it was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. As reported by Democracy Now, the US has almost NO official presence in COP25.
2 – Fossil fuel corporations
The world’s most polluting corporations, responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, have their eyes on COP25 and their lobbyists are roaming its corridors. These corporations want to block or weaken climate action, as research by a number of NGOs showed.
But there is a glimmer of hope from the from the Philippines. The Philippines Commission on Human Rights panel found that world’s biggest oil companies have legal and moral responsibilities to act and thus can be sued for climate change.
The country led by far right Bolsonaro wants to open up the Amazon for corporate exploitation, working to expel the tropical forest’s indigenous population. Now Bolsonaro is blocking a robust article 6 mechanism that determines the format of the carbon markets. Brazil has insisted that developing countries should be allowed to double–count some emission reductions in the early years of the Paris Agreement.
4 – Australia
One of the biggest coal exporters in the world, Australia has continued to downplay the impact of global warming even when it faces unprecedented bush fires. The ruling Liberal-National coalition has prioritised economic growth over environmental protection and most recently the deputy Prime Minister dismissed campaigners as “woke capital-city greenies.”
5 – China
The world’s biggest polluters is said to be blocking measures for greater transparency in the mechanism of the COP25.
6- Saudi Arabia
Today, the Saudi government announced the public listing of Saudi Aramco, the country’s petrol company, the largest in history valued at $2tn. We should be divesting from fossil fuels, not investing in them! Saudi Arabia has a vested interest in the growth of fossil fuels and this does not bode well for the COP25 negotiations.
Thursday, 12 December
Mick Wallace grilled Brazil’s Environment Minister, who last August at the peak of the Amazon fires said that the solution is to “monetize” the Amazon by opening areas for commercial development. His response to Wallace today was that the areas being given to corporations are not in the Amazon forest but in the state of Amazonia and that the international community is mixing the two up. [no comment] Greenpeace says that Amazon deforestation has reached the highest level in more than a decade under Bolsonaro. When asked on indigenous rights, the Brazilian Minister doesn’t even care to answer. Not once were indigenous people mentioned in his statements.
Mick Wallace sent us this update:
At Commission briefing, with DG Climate, MEP Petros Kokkalis asks what kind of message will the EU be communicating at the end of the week? Will it be a message of hope and radical ambition? Or again, business as usual, much talk and little action?
Thoughts from GUE/NGL political advisor at #COP25
Friday, 13 December
This morning, MEPs Mick Wallace and Idoia Villanueva met with Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner for the Environment, Forest and Climate Change for Ethiopia.
The BBC has a fascinating piece about how the Ethiopian government and its people are tackling the climate emergency. The country is highly vulnerable to changes in the climate. Yet large areas that had become arid have now been replanted with trees, giving new life to those areas.
MEP Idoia Villanueva sent us this update on the final day of COP25. She says that Brazil is blocking an agreement, especially in relation to Article 6. The country wants to double count emissions reductions. “We are seeing how Trump and Bolsonaro feel threatened by a young girl that represents a whole movement,” Villanueva said.
And from MEP Petros Kokkalis, a late night update… still no resolution to the issue of Article 6. Negotiations will go into the early hours of the morning for the final day of COP25.
Monday, 16 December
Damien has summed up the outrageous outcome of the COP25
Our MEPs issue this statement upon return from COP25: http://left.eu/live-blog-un-climate-summit-in-madrid/
Wit this, we close this blog. Please follow more news on our website.