Global climate agenda

COP25 ends with lukewarm results, but with greater social awareness

Events Climate action Society

The Madrid Climate Summit (COP25) ended on Sunday 15 December — instead of Friday 13 as scheduled, making it the longest of all the COPs — with lacklustre results as far as the negotiations were concerned, despite having had a substantial impact in terms of mobilising civil society as a whole.

Under the slogan 'Time for Action' and presided by Chile, COP25 was held from 2 to 13 December in the Spanish capital Madrid.

Under the slogan Time for Action, representatives of some 200 governments assembled in the UN's COP25 conference to try to reach political agreements that would bring the global trend in emissions into line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, with particular emphasis on limiting the increase in global temperatures to less than 1.5 ºC, which would equate to achieving a world with net-zero CO2 emissions by the middle of the century. However, the results were not as satisfactory as had been hoped for the global climate agenda.

Main results of COP25

From the point of view of the process of negotiations and the government sphere, expectations were partly achieved for this COP, which occupied a mid-way position between COP 24 (Katowice), which approved most of the technical rules of the Paris Agreement — the Katowice Rulebook —, and COP 26 (Glasgow), which has already been assigned a pre-eminent political role, being considered as a platform for displaying the renewal of governments' climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which according to the Paris Agreement, must be carried out during 2020.

The results of the summit can be divided into three 3 parts: climate negotiations, politics and civil society.

 Climate negotiations

Despite the approval of some political texts and a few technical matters, in terms of climate ambition the results were relatively modest.

Approval was given to some framework decisions of a political nature recognising the need to raise ambitions in order to close the gap between current climate commitments and those necessary to move towards scenarios of 2 degrees (or even 1.5 degrees) of global warming, encouraging countries to use the information of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC External link, opens in new window.) for their diagnostics and political decisions and demonstrating the need for political ambition in 2020 to revise NDCs and present strategies for reducing emissions through to 2050.

Prominent among the issues on which no agreement was reached was the question of carbon markets. This subject was particularly controversial due to the positions adopted by countries such as Brazil, China and India, which were promoting lax rules, in contrast with positions such as that of the European Union — and Iberdrola —, which held out for robust and environmentally sound rules.

 Political announcements

This summit clearly showed Europe's political leadership in the area of climate action with the presentation of the European Green Deal External link, opens in new window. and the approval of the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 in the European Council. In this context a high point was the number of new countries joining the Coalition launched by Chile with the aim of extending the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and the pre-2020 ambition to the largest possible number of countries. Some of these announcements had already been made in the UN climate action summit in September in New York, which Iberdrola attended.

 Civil society

Also, in this edition of the conference civil society (businesses, associations, NGOs, etc.) played a particularly large part. Among the most notable aspects were: the participation of as many as 177 major global companies — including Iberdrola — in the pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 as part of the Business Ambition for 1.5 °C External link, opens in new window., campaign, the launch of significant alliances and financial campaigns to align investment flows with climate goals and the presentation of a wide variety of scientific reports by the main multilateral organisations on climate scenarios and impacts.

The Iberdrola Group at COP25

Iberdrola was an official sponsor of COP25, for the fourth year running, and formally supported the Spanish government as top level partner, as well as having a pavilion in the Green Zone, where an intense programme of informative activities was conducted and which received many visits from Spanish and foreign institutions.

The company participated very intensely in the main civil society events and initiatives, with significant media coverage and explicit recognition from governments and multilateral organisations, referencing it as a leading company in the process of decarbonisation.

It also lent public support to the main political, business and social declarations, driven both by the Chilean presidency of the COP and by the various bodies with strong links to the process — We Mean Business, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Corporate Leaders Group, UN Global Compact, etc. —, with special emphasis on the whole range of activities of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action External link, opens in new window. — a UN participation platform for civil society — and contributing with talks to each of its main themes: energy, industry, transport, etc.

Participation in technical and high-level forums

Additionally, the company took part in the most important events and meetings, which dealt with subjects such as climate policies and international negotiations on climate change, carbon pricing, narratives with which to confront climate change denial, mitigation and adaptation policies across the entire economy, green financing, successful business models for the energy transition, fair transition, innovation and development in the energy sector and green employment.

We also took the opportunity to show Iberdrola's awareness-raising plan, with initiatives such as Educaclima, documentaries, etc. Another highlight was the visibility of the cycling expedition Moving for Climate Now, in which a large number of national and international experts and senior representatives of the UN, the COP and various administrations took part, and which arrived at COP25 the day before the Summit started.