This week, roughly 25,000 people will meet in Madrid for the COP25 conference. Among those attending will be scientists, business leaders, politicians and activists, including the inspiring Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg. Originally, the meeting was scheduled in Brazil, but when climate denying Jair Bolsonaro became president, the event had to be moved to Chile. Massive protests there forced the event to be moved to Madrid.
In 2015, 200 nations agreed to the Paris Climate Accord. Each country that’s a party to the agreement pledged to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The world is currently 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which adds to the urgency.
COP25 is a meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, the organization which makes sure the Paris Agreement is implemented. This meeting is the last before the Paris Agreement goes into effect in 2020.
The impact of climate change is already real and devastating. According to a new Oxfam study, 20 million people have already fled their homes in the past decade due to climate disasters, which is the equivalent of one person every two seconds. Because emissions haven’t been slowing as they should, nations at the coming meeting will have to up their commitments to stick within Paris Agreement goals.
President Trump has vowed to remove the US from the agreement, which he can do in November 2020.