Too Many Gaps = One Gaping Political Hole

11 December 2019

Dear Ministers,

We, the so-called civil society that observes negotiations, would like to call your attention to the many gaps we need to close to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on mitigation, adaptation/resilience, and support. ‘Gap’ is amongst the most spoken words in these negotiating halls, maybe no less than ambition. 

So which gaps is ECO talking about? 

They go by many names. We talk of the “emissions gap,” the “ambition gap,” and lately also the “commitment gap between what we say we will do and what we need to do to prevent dangerous levels of climate warming” as the 2019 UNEP Gap Report puts it. 

But maybe the biggest gap this year is between the voices of the youth and people taking to the streets, and what you and your governments are doing to tackle the climate emergency. 

Here in Madrid ECO has sadly faced yet another gap: the civil society participation gap in these processes. One example is that we were not able to distribute our paper edition of ECO in the first week of COP25, at one point even outside the IFEMA. As a symptom of the shrinking space for civil society, globally, this is a cause for concern. 

All these gaps come together to form a big hole: the lack of political will of most of your governments to act and to respond to the whole of society, jeopardizing our planet without our consent. 

One of the clearest ways in which we see this, is in the lack of leadership from developed and industrialised countries in cutting emissions and providing finance for climate action, adaptation, and loss and damage in vulnerable countries. You have not done your job in the pre-2020 period, and that is now also jeopardizing the raising of ambition under the Paris Agreement. 

Please don’t only mind the gaps. We need you to close this big hole and show us bold leadership and commitments. You will have plenty of opportunities this week – first and foremost, in the cover decisions re-stating your strong commitment to enhance NDCs early next year; in your country speeches, the Stocktake on Pre-2020 Implementation and Ambition happening today; in your Ministerial consultations; in your many informal meetings. 

You also have plenty of support: just listen to the voices on the streets. We thank you for your attention and ask that you use your time (and ours) wisely. 

Support CAN

Help us build power in the climate movement by contributing a one-time or recurring donation that will go to supporting our global work as well as various activities and campaigns in communities in different regions.

Donate to CAN

Stay informed

Subscribe to receive monthly updates on the latest on the climate movement including the content from across the network, upcoming climate change events, news articles and opinion pieces on climate, straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter