COP 25 Madrid: what happened at the world’s longest climate talks?

COP 25 Madrid: what happened at the world’s longest climate talks?

On 15 December, the world’s longest climate talks on record finally ended in Madrid. The key question debated at the talks was around curbing global emissions of greenhouse gases.

The conference itself sits between earlier climate talks in Katowice in 2018 where the technical rules of the Paris Agreement were drafted, and the upcoming climate talks, COP 26, which will be hosted in Glasgow in 2020. The failure of the talks in Madrid to resolve a number of issues places added importance – and pressure – on the UK to make a success of hosting the 2020 COP. 

That failure also means that wider, civil society is taking on a larger and larger role. That was evidence at the Madrid COP with more than 175 companies declaring that they are in favour of net zero emissions by 2050, by signing up to the UN Global Company ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’.

 The Paris Agreement

One of the central failures of the Madrid negotiations was to resolve the implementation of Article 6 – provisions for international trading in carbon credits. There were hopes that the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement would have been finalised but negotiators failed to live up to those hopes. The decision on Article 6 has now been pushed until the climate talks next year in Glasgow.  We discussed this and related issues in our recent publication.

 COP 26

That leaves many issues – and some would say the global momentum to tackle climate change – resting on COP 26 and UK diplomacy leading up to and during that COP.  The new pledges that countries will be making to reduce their emissions and the rules they will put in place to realise those pledges will be vital in reaching the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.  Steps are already being taking towards this, with the European Commission announcing the ‘Green Deal’, its roadmap of measures and policies aimed at working towards a carbon neutral future by 2050. This follows the example of the UK, which in June this year was the first country to write carbon neutrality into Law.

Frontier regularly advises governments and private companies on climate policy and how to improve living standards while reducing emissions. We will publish more detailed views about the role for economics in supporting global climate ambitions in 2020, leading up to the Glasgow COP.  For more information, please contact or call +44 (0) 20 7031 7000