Carolina Schmidt, Chile's Minister of Environment and new president of the 2019 UN Climate Change conference (COP25), Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and UN Secretary-General António Guterres attend the opening ceremony of the COP25 in Madrid, Spain (Photo: Reuters)
Carolina Schmidt, Chile's Minister of Environment and new president of the 2019 UN Climate Change conference (COP25), Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and UN Secretary-General António Guterres attend the opening ceremony of the COP25 in Madrid, Spain (Photo: Reuters)

COP25 begins, UN urges countries to raise climate action ambitions

  • Delegates from almost 200 countries, including India, have begun a 12-day international climate conference in Madrid that seeks to step up efforts to stop global warming
  • 'We stand at a critical juncture and have no time to spare,' said UN Secretary-General António Guterres

New Delhi: The 12-day long global high-level deliberations on climate change began in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres urging countries to raise their ambitions in wake of the climate emergency.

The 25th Conference of Parties (COP) would witness participation of delegates from over 200 countries, including India, which have committed to protecting the planet from the imminent effects of climate change.

“We stand at a critical juncture and have no time to spare," said Guterres in his inaugural address. “Today, we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% each year. The governments must not only honor their national contributions under the Paris Accord, but also substantially increase their ambitions," he said.

As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), India had committed to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 level and to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

The conference is crucial, as it outlines the post-2020 climate actions countries intend to take under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Indian delegation is being led by Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Among the important issues being raised by India is that of climate finance. India has maintained that it already has ambitious climate action plans in place and any substantial scaling up these plans would require new and additional funds from developed countries.

Flagging the demands of the developing countries, Guterres said it was a great injustice of climate change that its effects fall most on those least responsible for it.

“We must also ensure that at least $100 billion a year is available to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation and to take into account their legitimate expectations to have the resources necessary to build resilience and for disaster response and recovery," he said

This conference provides a critical opportunity for countries to start the process of realigning their emission trajectories with the goals set under the 2015 Paris Agreement to cut emissions to zero by mid century.

“We made a commitment to the world through Paris Agreement 2015. At, COP25 must convey to the world, that we are serious about reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. We have the tools and the resources for mitigation; all we need is a political will," said Guterres.

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