It says a lot when even the lowest of expectations end in bitter disappointment and boiling anger. Hardened veterans arrived for this year’s UN climate talks in Madrid with little hope of a long-sought ‘breakthrough moment’. Those low expectations were sadly proved right. Not even extra time, with the talks extended for two days, could make the difference. The world is screaming out for action but this summit has responded with a whisper. In truth, much of the script for this episode of the now 25-year soap opera was focused on important, but often technical discussions. But while the world burns, the diplomats talk, and talk, and talk. The big plot twists – we are promised – will instead happen in national capitals over the next few months with each country expected to enhance their plans to cut emissions between now and 2030. It is critical they do so quickly. The deadline is the talks in Glasgow next November. In the meantime, many decisions were either placed on pause or stuck firmly in slow-motion in Madrid and these negotiations, known as COP25, have done little to inspire optimism. Not even Greta Thunberg could manage to press fast-forward. Flanked by a mob of security and media, she has been an ever present and ever more articulate advocate for young people’s rising anger. But even before the final outcome was issued, her judgement on the speed of climate action was damning. The talks in Madrid failed. But we cannot give up. And with the tartan talks in Glasgow still 11 months away, it’s more essential than ever that the people’s voice is heard. Together, we can ensure there are better plot twists to come. We have no choice, too many lives depend on it.
Times 19th Dec 2019 read more »