The COP25 of sharpened knives and damage control
For those already preparing for the Conference of Parties (COP) 26 in Glasgow, there is good news. It is hard to imagine a harsher and weirder COP than the COP25.There are now potential milestones for Glasgow that were not possible in Madrid. This record long and near orphaned COP, first abandoned by Brazil, then Santiago, and then miraculously (really) held within short notice in Madrid, is finally over. A record number of hours and days. While viewed as a failure in the face of rising global emissions and temperatures, some things happened on process and politics that deserve understanding.
First, the sharpened knives. From day one (including pre-meetings, which totaled 19 days for myself and my programme assistant Detmer), the negotiation rooms were as ungenerous as I have seen them since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Fractured world politics were reflected in Party interventions that often came with avoidable sharpness, such that the image of knife sharpening or stabbing often came to my mind. Yet global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise—4% since 2015—while clear scientific findings on how urgent action could avoid profound suffering and loss of life to humans, other animals and nature, are widely available and accessible.