COP 25: Few advances while time is running out

For the Spanish trade union confederation, Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), the 25th edition of the Conferences of the Parties (COP25) showed that the COPs and multilateralism run the risk of losing credibility and of widening the gap that separates them from civil society.

By the Environment and Mobility Secretariat of the Workers Commissions’ trade union confederation (CCOO)

Many were the symptoms of this disturbing situation: a lack of ambition, a slow planning and decision making, and a clear subordination to the economic powers that resulted in a manifest disengagement with the public interest while power was given away to economic, financial and multinational entities that put their own before those of society and the preservation of the planet.

This COP25 will be remembered as the COP of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This article, which is eminently economic, appears in the section dealing with carbon markets, which have to be filled with specific content to enter into force in 2020 and replace the Kyoto protocol (adopted in 1997 and implemented in 2005).

During the negotiations of Article 6, some countries, such as Brazil, tried to introduce market mechanisms that allowed double accounting. The European Union opposed this proposal by going against the rules that govern the market and that have taken so much time and effort to establish. Some parties decided then to “kidnap” such vital matters as social justice, the gender gap, respect for human rights and the just transition and use them as a bargaining chip to force the negotiations.

CCOO, as an integral part of the delegation of the International Trade Union Confederation that was composed of more than 100 delegates and delegates from 22 countries, brought to COP25 three fundamental claims:

Alongside conveying these messages, the unions also called to support demonstrations and actions that were taking place inside and outside the Summit.

They organised and participated in a multitude of activities calling for such important matters as providing sufficient funds for developing countries to address the impact of the climate crisis because they are those who suffer the most from its consequences despite being those who contribute the least to global warming; stressing the urgency of ensuring the reduction of emissions to avoid the terrible risks that humanity will face if the global average temperature exceeds 1.5 ° C, although the world is likely to be definitively off-track on this one.

Acting from global to local

Everything cannot be achieved by acting at global level only. Local-level actions are also important. It is indeed very urgent to start acting in our respective countries.
We must establish stable social dialogue frameworks to analyse, plan, decide and carry out the necessary measures to decarbonise our economies, and train working people to have the necessary skills to take on newly created jobs. The bottom line is clear: no one left behind. Therefore, those who won’t be able to skill-up or re-skill must receive an accompaniment from the public authorities.

It is also essential to move forward in energy saving and efficiency measures. Promote the circular economy and encourage changes to make our industry sustainable and competitive. We must demand responsibility and efforts to reform the agricultural market in order to boost organic farming and nearby consumption. We must address the challenge of sustainable mobility as a fundamental element of public transportation etc.

These are numerous opportunities and enormous challenges. And that is why we demand less declarations and more actions from the international community and our public authorities. This is what we want to see now and at the next COP 26, which will take place in Glasgow from 9 to 20 November 2020.

Time is running out, let’s get to it!

Photo: COP 25 - CCOO