Climate Voices

December 9, 2019
By: Climate Generation

Your Window into COP25: December 9

Our delegates are on the ground in Madrid! Left to right: Sarah Goodspeed, Sabrina Patlan.

The last week of COP25 kicks off today. Our delegates from Minnesota are now attending sessions, and ministers from participating countries are arriving this week as well, pushing conversations that may have come to a standstill to continue with more urgency.

Today, we’re diving into one of the critical, remaining pieces of the Paris Agreement rulebook that needs sorting out this week — the “common time frame” for each country’s submitted pledges under the Agreement. There are three key terms to understand here:

Paris Rulebook
This is the 300-page document containing the rules and guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement. However, the key note here is that none of these rules are legally binding — the UNFCCC and subnational actors are responsible for holding countries accountable to their pledges.

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs)
These are the pledges we’re talking about. Set to officially go into effect in 2020, NDCs include emissions-reduction targets and policies, adaptation plans, and other climate action goals. Non-state actors like cities, states, and businesses help increase the ambitions of NDCs as well. Parties are meant to put forward new, strengthened NDCs every five years, however, there are differing opinions on how long these pledges should be binding for.

Common Time Frame
The original NDCs that countries submitted in 2015 when the Paris Agreement was created ranged in length, with some running to 2025 and others to 2030. During last year’s COP, countries agreed at that beginning in 2031, all NDCs should be set to a common time frame. Agreeing upon the length of this time frame — whether it’s a five-year period or longer — is an important issue for discussion. This is a critical topic, because the targets currently set in NDCs are not enough: they set us on a trajectory for the world to be roughly 3C hotter, not the 1.5C target scientists around the world say is necessary.

“Young people want to save the lives of those who are being threatened by rising sea levels but negotiations discuss how best to accommodate limiting climate change within their plans for economic growth.”

– Amishi Agrawal, a 19-year-old Indian youth ambassador
for the Centre for United National Constitutional Research

If you’re still trying to figure out the basics, check out this glossary of climate change acronyms and terms, this video explaining the role of observer organizations (like Climate Generation) at the COP, and this infographic describing key agenda items.

If you’re an educator following along in your classroom, don’t forget to check out our COP Educator Toolkit.

Climate Generation Delegation Blogs

Today, we share the insights of our Youth & Policy Manager

Sarah Goodspeed, Climate Generation

Youth in the Lead


Mark your calendar for the COP25 webcasts throughout the experience!

Tuesday, December 10: CLEAN Network Webinar (12 p.m. CST)

Tune into the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network CLEAN call, with a specific focus on climate change education featuring our guest blogger Deb Morrison.

Wednesday, December 11: Inside COP25 with Sarah Goodspeed with special guest – Part 1 (12 p.m. CST)

Thursday, December 12: COP25 + #TeachClimate (11:20 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CST)

Educators are invited to this special #TeachClimate Network meeting; where their classrooms can participate in a discussion about what it’s like at the COP25 negotiations and facilitate a reading discussion.

Friday, December 13: Inside COP25 with Sarah Goodspeed with special guest – Part 2 (12 p.m. CST)

Follow Us

Check out our Twitter and Instagram for even more footage from our COP25 delegation. Follow @ClimateGenOrg and hashtags #MNCOP25 and #ActOnClimate

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