Dear Ministers, We Need to Talk!

9 December 2019

Dear Ministers, we need to talk! And frankly, before we do so, you need to learn to listen.

500,000 people were out on the streets of Madrid, marching for an outcome from this COP25 that adequately responds to the climate emergency. When you arrive here, you do so after a year that witnessed the rise of a historic climate movement as well as further aggravation of climate impacts. ECO is quite stunned by how ministers from large emitters praised the young people fighting for their future in an almost effortlessly self-serving manner while failing to taking substantive action.

ECO will not let you leave Madrid without listening to the demands of the young people, front line communities, and Indigenous Peoples. Coming to Madrid, you must respond to the people and the science. So far you have failed; take Madrid as an opportunity to change that. For ECO, this entails urgently enhancing NDCs, prioritizing environmental integrity, and delivering new and additional finance for loss and damage.

Here are some starting points for our conversation:

ECO is quite excited that Denmark’s ambitious climate target of reducing emissions by 70% by 2030 was just made binding this week. There is no reason why, as ministers from high emitting countries, you cannot give some clear signals of commiting to something similar here in Madrid. And by commitment, we don’t mean the usual empty promises.

ECO also knows these commitments need to be formalized in the decisions taken at COP25. So make sure to agree on enhancing your NDCs in the first quarter of 2020, reflecting the highest possible ambition in line with the 1.5„ƒ trajectory. Additionally, when enhancing your NDCs you must ensure you do it with an inclusive, whole-of-society approach. While you are at it, you should seize the opportunity to tackle the other planetary emergency €“ biodiversity.

ECO knows you or your predecessors worked hard to get a rachet-up mechanism into the Paris Agreement. So make sure you do not add a rachet-down mechanism by agreeing on rules for Article 6 which undermine the integrity of the Paris Agreement.

Ministers, ECO knows you usually deal with the bigger picture, but for carbon markets on Article 6 the details are what matters and ECO insists you do not compromise on them.

Don’t make “a deal”, take the time necessary to at least avoid any double counting, carryover of Kyoto credits, and violations of human and Indigenous rights. ECO asks you to ensure environmental safeguards are enshrined into any final text and to establish a fair automatic cancellation rate of carbon market credits to ensure true additionality and avoid classical offsets for which there is no longer any place for when complying with the objectives of Paris. ECO will judge the outcome on how much carbon pollution the atmosphere sees resulting from carbon markets. So far and based on existing text, that looks very bleak.

And don’t think for a second that Article 6 is the only thing we are concerned about. People are suffering and dying from the increasing frequency and severity of climate impacts around the world. The outcome of this COP will be equally judged based upon providing action and support for the most vulnerable. For ECO this means new finance through the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage to finally address climate-induced loss and damage.

ECO assures you, dear Ministers, the times in which people reacted to climate inaction with a nice little press release are over. This is an emergency; we are going to treat it like one and you should too.

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