Key UN climate change meet to be held on schedule in Madrid

United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) The UN climate change conference will be held on schedule next month by moving it to Madrid after Chile cancelled the hosting it because of widespread protests there.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced on Friday that the meeting known as the Conference of Parties (CoP) will be held in the Spanish capital from December 2 to 13, the original dates for the meeting.

Chile will take over the presidency of the conference even though the meeting has been moved to Spain.

“It is encouraging to see countries working together in the spirit of multilateralism to address climate change, the biggest challenge facing this and future generations,” Patricia Espinosa, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said.

Chile also cancelled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) forum summit that was to have taken place this month.

US President Donald Trump had said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would sign the “phase one” of a trade agreement.

The summit’s cancellation makes it uncertain when they could sign the pact that could pave the way for ending the trade war as an alternative site or dates have not been set.

The CoP is the main body that coordinates the global effort to fight climate change and the landmark Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st CoP in 2015.

Next month’s CoP will follow up the achievements of the Paris Agreement and try to increase commitments by member countries to ensure that global temperatures do not increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has raised the stakes in reducing global warming by making 1.5 degrees Celsius the target for maximum global warming instead of the 2-degree goal set in the Paris agreement because of what he calls the existential threat to humanity from global warming.

This follows Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning last year that exceeding the 1.5 Celsius threshold would be a global disaster.

The conference takes place under the shadow of the withdrawal by the United States, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, from the Paris Agreement.

The change in venue will be a major effort as delegations from over 190 countries were scheduled to participate in addition to several thousand participants from NGOs and scientific organisations.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at and followed on Twitter @arulouis)



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