A mass demonstration is held outside plenary where members of civil society call for stronger climate action.
A series of high-level events comprised the public-facing side of the Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference on Wednesday. Behind closed doors, ministers and negotiators discussed Article 6 (market and non-market mechanisms), loss and damage, gender, and the periodic review of the long-term global goal.
A High-level Event on Climate Emergency started the day, moderated by High-level Climate Champion Gonzalo Muñoz. Panelists included scientist Johan Rockström, Minister Teresa Ribera, Spain, and civil society leaders Jennifer Morgan and Greta Thunberg. Together, they highlighted urgent messages from climate science and called for “true leadership” and “urgent transformations.”
Activist Greta Thunberg placed her hope in democracy: “It is the public opinion that runs the free world. Every great change throughout history has come from the people. We do not have to wait. We can start the change right now—we, the people,” she said.
Looking back, ministers discussed the state of mitigation action and support that took place before 2020. While some noted that “the pre-2020 period ends in 20 days,” others placed utmost importance on the event to build trust among parties as they start to implement the Paris Agreement in 2020.
Those at the Global Climate Action High-Level event heard about private sector sustainability initiatives such as in the financial sector, and reflected on how these can achieve scale and lead to transformative change. Liaising with the International Space Station (ISS) in a live video chat, UN Secretary-General António Guterres exchanged with Luca Parmitano, astronaut from the European Space Agency and current ISS Commander, on how a shared dream can foster collaboration between nations. Parmitano emphasized the need to “do justice to our planet’s beauty and fragility,” noting the role of science in developing innovative solutions.
With protests disrupting the proceedings, and calls from a wide range of voices—from indigenous peoples and youth to Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland—for people to "get angry and to act," the divide between optimism and outrage was palpable.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) meeting coverage, provided daily web coverage, daily reports, and a summary and analysis report from the 2019 Climate Change Conference. The summary and analysis report is now available in HTML and PDF.
As the session closes, youth take to the stage in an act of protest, demanding greater action for climate justice.
High-Level Stocktake on Pre-2020 Implementation Ambition
Delegates gather in plenary for the high-level event.
Ovais Sarmad, UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary
Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile
Panel speakers discussing support for climate efforts up to 2020 and ways to enhance efforts (L-R): Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India; Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development, St. Lucia; Jeanne D'Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda; Krista Mikkonen, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Finland; Alexandra Bonnet, Ministry for Ecological and Solidary Transition, France; and Mariana Castaño Cano, UNFCCC.
Ian Duncan, Minister for Climate Change, UK
Nur Masripatin, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia
Global Climate Action High-Level Event
View of the dais during the session.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Artur Lorkowski, Special Envoy on Climate, COP 24 Presidency
Panel speakers discuss climate action (L-R): Ana Patricia Botín, Executive Chair, Banco Santander; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; and Moderator Musonda Mumba, Chair, Global Partnership of Forest and Landscape Restoration.
During the session, an in-flight connection is made with space for Luca Parmitano, International Space Station Commander, to deliver a 'message from space to earth.'
Pedro Duque, Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Spain
Brianna Fruean, Samoan youth representative
Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco
Claire O’Neill, COP 26 President-Designate, UK
Family photo of the Climate Ambition Alliance.
High-level statements continue for a second day.
Fadi Jreissati, Minister of Environment, Lebanon
Raúl Clemente Ledesma Huerta, Minister of Environment, Ecuador
Paul Herbert Oquist, Minister, Private Secretary for National Policies, Nicaragua
Trần Hồng Hà, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam
Informal Consultations Throughout the Day
Presidency consultations on the report and terms of reference of the Consultative Group of Experts.
Delegates meet informally throughout the day.
Mass Civil Society Demonstration
As one of the high-level plenaries is about to begin, members of civil society lead a mass protest involving hundreds of people, chanting that the climate negotiations have 'failed' and demanding more ambition for climate justice.
In an act of defiance, demonstrators sit down in the corridors, occupying the space and delaying the high-level proceedings.
As the protest intensifies, UN Security forms a human chain to move people away from the plenary rooms.
Protestors are funneled through a large door which is then closed. Anyone involved in the protest was not allowed back into the building for the day.
Protestors continue to demonstrate outside the building.
Around the Venue
Members of civil society demonstrate in the corridors, calling for greater finance for adaptation and, especially, loss and damage.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks with Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile, and Gonzalo Muñoz, COP 25 High-Level Climate Champion, Chile.
Jacob Werksman, EU, speaks with Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt.
Greta Thunberg, Swedish youth activist, and Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2019
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