Negotiations at the COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid finally ended, wrapping up an event which saw much progress made by the private sector, and by national, regional and local governments. However, there was widespread disappointment that no overall consensus was reached on increased climate ambition.
UN chief António Guterres expressed his feelings on Twitter, but refused to see the conference as a defeat, and wrote that he is “more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5-degree temperature rise”.
However, when the conference had been expected to end, agreement on some important issues had been reached by negotiators, for example on capacity building, a gender programme, and technology, but an overall deal was held up over disagreement on the larger, and more contentious issues dealing with loss and damage caused by man-made climate change, as well as financing for adaptation.
Despite the disappointment voiced at the contents of the outcome document, several announcements made during the two-week conference to indicate progress. The European Union, for example, committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and 73 nations announced that they will submit an enhanced climate action plan (or Nationally Determined Contribution). A groundswell of ambition for a cleaner economy was also evident at a regional and local level, with 14 regions, 398 cities, 786 businesses and 16 investors are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.