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Highlights and images for 14–15 December 2019

The COP sign at the entrance to the venue as the negotiations go 42 hours over time, making it the longest COP in UNFCCC history. UPDATE: Sunday, 15 December, 1:55 pm: - COP 25 President Schmidt gavels the COP, CMP, and CMA to a close. UPDATE: Sunday, 15 December, 10:17 am - The COP opened. After some debate, the COP adopted the "Chile-Madrid Time for Action" decision. UPDATE: Sunday, 15 December, 5:00 am - Closing plenary scheduled for 8:00 am. Delegates unsure of what the process moving forward will be. UPDATE: Sunday, 15 December, 12:30 am - The informal stocktaking plenary closes, with COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt outlining the outstanding, unresolved issues on WIM, Article 6, response measures, and others. She tells delegates "let's get to work." UPDATE: Saturday, 14 December, 11:00 pm - Informal Presidency stocktaking scheduled to convene. Delegates still engaged in closed-door negotiations on Article 6, loss and damage, response measures, and other issues. --- With the Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference ticking over from what was meant to be its final day into overtime, delegates speculated about how close parties actually were to any meaningful agreement. A morning plenary stocktake by the Presidency confirmed several areas where views diverged in the final decisions, yet to be adopted. In the Paris Agreement governing body (CMA) outcome decision, Australia opposed calls from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to ensure that units or emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol could not be used towards countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs). There was also disagreement on whether the Conference of the Parties (COP) outcome decision should mention the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, or mandate related work under the subsidiary bodies. In the same decision, several groups called for a clear call for enhancing ambition in NDCs in 2020, while other delegations supported a work programme on pre-2020 implementation and action. In the afternoon, bilateral Presidency-led consultations continued alongside closed informal consultations on finance, loss and damage, and Article 6 (market and non-market approaches). The resulting mood in the conference centre alternated between frustration and resignation. In a press conference, NGO representatives denounced the latest presidency texts. Civil society held an impromptu “People’s Closing Plenary” in the space between both official plenary halls, calling out the “COP that has failed us.” With the closing plenary delayed later and later into the night, press and observers alike were reduced to idly checking social media for any updates. For all the Presidency’s optimism that a plenary might be struck before midnight, some delegates meetings suggested otherwise. “It’s going to be a long night,” one said, rushing between rooms.
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Highlights and images for 13 December 2019

As the negotiations slow to a crawl inside the venue, members of Extinction Rebellion and FridaysForFuture demonstrate on the streets outside, calling this the 'ultimatum COP' to address the climate crisis. As the Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference entered its scheduled last day, many expected the meeting to extend into Saturday. COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt confirmed such expectations in the stocktaking plenary when she asked the Co-Facilitators of various items to keep working, without providing a clear timeline for conclusion. Calling on all parties to “show the world that we are capable of reaching agreement,” she outlined the new model of work going forward. Negotiations would proceed in two tracks. The first track focuses on Article 6 (market and non-market mechanism). The second track includes three issues: the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts; response measures; and the outcome decision (decision 1/CP.25). As the day wore on, negotiations continued among parties only, facilitated by ministers. Several delegates expressed concern both at the number of unresolved issues, and the many divergent positions on each issue. Some whispers suggested the conference “might fail altogether,” considering that no agreement is in sight. Others were more optimistic, but wondered how agreement would emerge with the overtime clock running. After hours of waiting, with the live schedule advertising facilitated ministerial consultations through midnight, many delegates left the venue to catch a few hours of sleep. Outside the venue, with flags and banners held aloft, Extinction Rebellion labelled the meeting “another lost opportunity.”
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Highlights and images for 12 December 2019

On the penultimate day of COP 25, a sign in the corridors reminds delegates of the urgency of reaching a positive outcome. The pace of the Chile/Madrid Climate Change slowed for many delegates on its penultimate day. Parties-only consultations continued on several issues, putting considerable work on some high-ranking delegates’ shoulders while others were left on the sidelines. In the morning, a stocktaking session gave all delegates an opportunity to catch up on closed-door discussions. Ministers provided updates, with varying level of detail, on the negotiations on: Article 6 (market and non-market mechanisms); Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM); Response measures; and The outcome decisions for this meeting. For issues under the purview of the COP Presidency, namely the periodic review of the long-term global goal, gender, and the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE), the COP President was clear that these should be agreed to by the evening. She encouraged parties to have finance-related issues ready by Thursday evening so that they could be agreed upon the next day. When plenary convened in the evening, some issues had been finalized. The COP adopted decisions, including on the terms of reference for the CGE. Decisions forwarded from the subsidiary bodies on Monday, 9 December were adopted, as were procedural decisions. Leaving the venue, tired delegates grasped at the chance of a few hours’ sleep, despite not knowing when a plenary session might reappear on Friday’s schedule. For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).
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Highlights and images for 11 December 2019

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. For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).
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