Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis. The world’s average surface temperature is rising rapidly because human activities release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, much like the glass roof of a greenhouse.
The meeting will aim to step up ambition so that all countries increase their national commitments to cut emissions. The meeting follows on the heels of three UN reports which stressed the increased urgency of limiting dangerous climate change.
“In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments – particularly from the main emitters – to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050”, says António Guterrez, UN Secretary General.
This meeting in Madrid signals the start of a frantic 12 months of negotiations that will culminate in Glasgow with COP26 in November next year. Some 50 world leaders are expected to attend the meeting in the Spanish capital – but US President Donald Trump will not be among them. However, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will attend the conference with a congressional delegation.