IIED debrief: COP25 and what it means for the climate crisis


After the UN climate talks in Madrid, Spain, ended with widespread disappointment, IIED hosted a discussion in London on Tuesday, 14 January 2020, to unpack the decisions and declarations made at COP25. An expert panel examined what blocked progress and discussed what needs to happen over the coming year in order to deliver success at the climate summit in Glasgow in November 2020.

A house destroyed by hurricane.

2019: Hurricane Dorian, the second strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, caused billions of dollars of damage across the Caribbean (Commonwealth Secretariat via FlickrCC BY-NC 2.0)

In 2019, conditions forced a climate change reality check on the world. We have seen the grief and anguish of communities that have been subject to climate-related disasters. We have seen a wealth of new evidence highlighting the speed and severity of the climate crisis come to light, as well as the power and influence of millions of young people striking in our streets, compelling world leaders to listen and act.

On Sunday, 15 December, COP25 finally ended after numerous delays. This major climate conference was the last opportunity for governments to finalise the rules that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement, before they have to submit emission reduction plans that match their promises to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Despite two additional days and nights of difficult negotiations, the summit ended weakly as diplomats failed to come to agreement on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, meaning no real action and dangerous delay.

In response to the Madrid climate talks, this event at IIED’s London headquarters on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 unpacked what happened at this pivotal meeting.

An expert panel examined whether the progress made by countries is ambitious enough and to what extent the outcomes responded to the priorities of the 47 least developed countries (LDCs), those that are least responsible for the climate crisis but are suffering the most from its impacts.

The panel also discussed what the road to COP26 (in Glasgow in November 2020) must look like, and what needs to happen to ensure governments act quickly and decisively to reverse the undermining outcomes of COP25 and take ambitious action to tackle the climate crisis.



The event was live streamed, and the video is available to watch below and on IIED's Facebook channel

Swaby later wrote a blog on some of the issues raised by the event for the Energy & Climate intelligence Unit website, while climate change journalist Nick Breeze wrote about his impressions, and reported many of the comments made by the panellists.

In the wake of the failure of COP25, a British presidency must bring to bear its accumulated powers in diplomacy, persuasion, purpose, and determination, to recreate trust in the Paris accord, kickstarting a new decade of meaningful achievements on safeguarding our collective future – Nick Breeze

The event was also live tweeted from IIED's Twitter account: follow the full thread.