UN Climate Change News, 13 December 2019 – At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Global Climate Action brought together leaders from across sectors and borders for a lively series of events, which were given concrete definition with the publication of the Climate Action Pathways.
Under the leadership of the High-Level Champions, the eight Climate Action Pathways outline the longer-term vision for a 1.5-degree climate-resilient world, setting out the transformational actions and milestones required under the thematic and cross-cutting areas of Global Climate Action’s Marrakech Partnership.
Elsewhere, Global Climate Action’s programme of events peaked with its high-level event on Wednesday 11 December. COP25 President, Minister Carolina Schmidt, opened to a packed plenary, which included Ministers, CEOs, media and leaders from civil society.
She then invited United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, to give opening remarks, who used the opportunity to launch his report on the 2019 Climate Action Summit. Afterwards the Secretary-General engaged in a conversation with Italian astronaut, Luca Parmitano – live from the International Space Station – who painted a vivid picture of how climate change is affecting the earth.
As the event drew to a close, Chile’s High-Level Climate Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz, spoke of the achievements of Global Climate Action and announced a renewed Climate Ambition Alliance, which now recognizes 73 countries committed to net zero emissions by 2050, as well as a further 1,214 actors (regions, cities, businesses, investors) who have pledged the same goal. Concluding remarks were provided by COP26 President Designate, Claire O’Neill, who commended Chile’s leadership in launching the Alliance and emphasized the UK’s determination to collaborate on this work in 2020.
During the event, many countries offered encouraging statements of support for the work of Global Climate Action since 2015 and for the continuation of its work post-2020.
But Global Climate Action’s nine-day schedule of events was far broader than just the high-level event. It kicked-off on 3 December with the unveiling of the Action Hub, which welcomed some 3,800 participants over the course of 65 events.
The amphitheater-like auditorium embraced a full spectrum of formats, such as TED-style talks, film screenings, audience polling, musical performances, press conferences, panel discussions, gaming demos, award ceremonies and on-the-sofa dialogues. The topics discussed were many and varied, encompassing fashion, banking innovation, sports, education, youth, sustainable travel and food.
A standout moment of the Global Climate Action programme was undoubtedly the prestigious UN Global Climate Action Awards. Fifteen game-changing initiatives from more than twenty countries were celebrated, showcasing some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people across the globe are doing to tackle climate change.
The award-winning projects of 2019 range from an in-app mini-programme that’s helped plant 122 million trees, to a ‘climate positive’ burger that’s taking the fast food industry by storm. Other projects include a women-led project that generates clean energy from the ocean, and Québec’s international climate finance programme, which is uniquely funded by the province’s own carbon market.
In addition to the events outlined above, Global Climate Action gave stage time to Climate Neutral Now, the Fashion Charter for Climate Action, and the thematic areas of the Marrakech Partnership.
Overall, Global Climate Action at COP25 went beyond talk and future pledges: It highlighted what progress has already been accomplished via its annual report – the Yearbook of climate action 2019 – and also a mass upload of new data to the Global Climate Action portal. The platform now boasts over 17,000 actors representing nearly 25,000 actions and also houses landmark announcements that were made at the conference on a dedicated COP25 action page.
Other ‘headline’ events from the Global Climate Action programme at COP25 include:
- Climate Action in the Travel and Tourism Sector. An event organized by the World Travel and Tourism Council in collaboration with Global Climate Action about the need to take climate action in the Travel and Tourism sector to enable its transformation to a sustainable industry, under the umbrella of WTTC’s ambition for the sector to be climate neutral by 2050. In collaboration with the Climate Neutral Now initiative of UN Climate Change, the event demonstrated that many companies of the sector are already showing leadership in reducing their climate impact. The organization itself last year signed up to the United Nations Climate Neutral Now initiative with a pledge to measure its greenhouse gas emissions, reduce what it can and offset the rest, while promoting the same climate-friendly regimen to its 150 members worldwide, and launched a Sustainability Action Plan, meant to help the industry deliver on its climate ambition.
- Young and Future Generations Day. Among the main topics discussed was how young people can lead climate action and accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement. The day was filled with many activities including the Intergenerational Inquiry event to discuss raising ambition and empowering youth to implement the Paris Agreement. The youth thematic day wrapped up with screenings of inspiring, award-winning youth videos. Awards were given to young videographers for their winning entries in three categories: Cities and local action to combat climate change; Nature-based solutions for food and human health; and Balancing use of land for people and ecosystems.