COP25 presents an opportunity to further the fight against climate changeDiscussions surrounding Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, regarding carbon pricing and emissions reduction, will be the main agenda.
The 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference—popularly known as COP25—is currently being held in Madrid, Spain. A meeting of representatives from 197 countries, the conference will run till December 13. That the meeting is occurring is a miracle, and a testament to the cooperation between the Chilean and Spanish governments and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat—the venue shifted at the last moment due to political unrest in Chile, the original hosts.
COP25 is taking place four years after the Paris Agreement. It has also been one year since the guidelines for its implementation, known as the Paris Rulebook, were agreed upon at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. COP25 will discuss the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which was unable to be resolved even at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany earlier this year. Article 6 is crucial as it encourages governments to implement their national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets, known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs, through market and non-market approaches with voluntary international cooperation. It necessarily leads to the creation of a global tradable system for emissions and allows for there to be a price on carbon.
The special reports generated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are the main scientific basis for the parties’ decision-making in COP25. Core areas of negotiation include loss and damage, technology development and transfer and capacity building, and climate finance. The participating countries need to submit their updated NDCs by 2020, and the main challenge of COP25 is to encourage them to increase ambition and enhance implementation to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Countries must become more ambitious, as this will significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
Nepal is considered one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world due to its fragile mountain ecosystems and poverty nexus. Poor and marginalised people in Nepal—particularly women, children, senior citizens, people with disability, and those living in rural areas—are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Nepal thus encourages the parties to come up with ambitious NDCs by 2020 in both adaptation and mitigation measures so that the objectives of the Paris Agreement can be achieved by the stipulated time.
Nepal would like to give special priority to three areas in COP25, considering the unique needs and circumstances of the fragile mountainous region: climate finance, technology transfer, and sharing of best practices. We expect to engage in in-depth discussions of loss and damage, technology development and transfer, transparency, capacity building, climate finance, as well as formal and informal networks. Nepal would like COP25 to implement Article 6 with the assurance that financing will be provided and technology transfers will occur to benefit the least developing countries (LDCs), to make them more climate-resilient. We believe the choice to implement Article 6 is clear if the parties are honest and sincere in their commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Mountainous countries like Nepal have been experiencing a faster increase in temperature than the global rate. This has significant negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, economies, and ecological systems. According to a 2015 report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 90 percent of major disasters over the last 20 years have been weather-related. This results in massive losses, both human and economic, every year. In April 2019, a tornado killed 30 people in the lowlands of Nepal within 25 minutes. These extreme weather events cause fear and a loss of confidence among Nepalis.
Thus, special financial mechanisms for ‘loss and damage’ should be established to provide compensation for the victims of climate change. Similarly, we need to have enhanced support for climate-smart technologies to implement our action plans in a timely manner and achieve our long-term goal of tackling the climate crisis. Nepal, therefore, encourages the international community, particularly developed and industrial countries, to increase their mitigation ambition with climate finance to support the LDC’s capacity to adapt. An ambitious plan of action is needed to tackle the challenges of our current global climate crisis in order to secure the survival of present and future generations.
In order to cope with the increasing impacts of climate change, Nepal has been formulating new plans and actions to create a climate-resilient society. The government has endorsed a new climate change policy in 2019, enacted climate law, and approved the Local Adaptation Plans of Action Framework (LAPA Framework) to facilitate climate action on the ground. The updated nationally determined contributions are also being revised.
To increase awareness of Nepal’s climate vulnerability and the urgent need for environmental protection, the government is planning to organise a flagship international forum called the Sagarmatha Dialogue in April next year. Ultimately, it will demonstrate why climate action now is so vital for the future of humanity.
Climate change is a global issue—we have no alternative except to take shared responsibility and address it. COP25 is a milestone in our fight against climate change. It is time for the international community to take action with urgency and immediacy.
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