Failure of CoP25

Published: December 18, 2019

The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 to stablize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Since then, the negotiations have been on a downward path. CoP 25 had a deliverable to frame rules for the carbon market under Article 6 of the Paris agreement. It was the last remaining piece of the Paris rulebook. But even after the talks, the negotiations on the carbon market has been pushed to another CoP in 2020. It is the carbon market which the Paris agreement is built around.

The market presents the opportunity to sell carbon credits between developed and developing countries, developing & developing countries and public & private sector. Under this mechanism, India can buy carbon credits from the US to meet its targets. With such a market design, it was required by the countries to agrees on the rules of an effective carbon market.
The market mechanism under Kyoto was marred with loopholes, eventually leading to increased carbon emissions instead of their reduction. There was no real transition towards low carbon development. To avoid the mistakes, a group of 30 countries lead by Costa Rica released the San Jose Principles to make the carbon market robust.

The rules promoted an overall reduction in global emissions.It also prohibited the usage of CDM credits as it would dilute the already weak commitment under the Paris agreement. Despite this, the San Jose Principles became a massive bone of contention. The CDM credits amounting to a more than billion tonnes of CO2 became a cause of dispute as the lion’s share of carbon credit is a handful of countries like Brazil, China and India. India and China wanted to carry these credit forward which was opposed by many countries.

The failure of CoP25 at Madrid is the result of developed countries bringing little to the table while developing countries interested in cashing on the money from the carbon market.
Climate crisis demands that countries cooperate to reduce emissions rather than focus on self-interest. Due to lack of cooperation and abandonment of the UNFCCC, it is time to create multi-regional platforms to cooperate on climate change.

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