Nada Farhoud: It’s time for the international climate conference to deliver

It is that time of year for another international climate conference.

You’d be forgiven for not being aware of the previous meetings (or conference of the parties – COPs) as they tend to be inconspicuous.

But this time it’s going to be different.

Thanks to the school strikes, the disruption caused by Extinction Rebellion and the work of Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough, the climate emergency is now high up on the list of public concerns.

Meanwhile, the Amazon has been burning, bush fires are raging in Australia and America, and the climate crisis is causing a humanitarian disaster every week.

But so far COP25 has been nothing more than a lot of hot air, if you’ll pardon the pun.

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This year’s meeting needed a last-minute rescue plan before it even started. Costa Rica wanted to host the event but lacked the resources, so Chile took control.

Everything was set for Santiago, billed as “the blue COP” because at long last issues about the oceans would take centre stage.

But rioting in the capital and a political crisis forced the COP to be moved. The Spanish government – despite being in the throes of a general election – stepped up and offered Madrid, where this year’s talks are now taking place.

Almost 30,000 delegates and 50 heads of state have met desperately trying to salvage the global promises which came out of the Paris Agreement four years ago but with very little action.

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At the same time, a report delivered some more grim news showing carbon emissions are up 0.6% when they should be down by 7% a year to deliver on the Agreement. We are going in completely the wrong direction.

Ironically, the conference has been sponsored by power giant Endesa, a leading contributor to greenhouse gases and Spain’s largest emitter.

So far we are one week in with another week to go but there are no signs yet of any meaningful carbon cutting actions being proposed, let alone agreed.

Only the Marshall Islands have formally submitted a new climate plan, with Chile and Mongolia proposing targets. That leaves 184 countries to get their act together.

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