COP25 : a profound disconnect between people and politicians on the climate emergency

Global transition

After a year of unprecedented mobilisations calling for urgent climate action, world leaders at COP 25 failed to step up climate action in line with the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement. The lack of ambition at COP25 puts more pressure on the EU to come forward with a substantially higher 2030 climate pledge in early 2020 to convince other big emitters and pave the way for increasing global ambition by next year’s COP26.

In reaction to the outcomes of COP 25, Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network Europe said: “During COP25, the EU has repeatedly said it wants to lead by example. To prove its sincerity and leadership to implement the Paris Agreement, the EU needs to substantially increase its 2030 climate pledge in the first months of 2020. The window of opportunity to achieve the 1.5°C objective of the Paris Agreement is closing rapidly. ”

At COP25, the EU has also repeated its commitment to remain in the High Ambition Coalition – a group of countries that has pledged to submit a new 2030 climate target in the first quarter of 2020-. 

The rules that govern global carbon markets (Article 6 of the Paris Agreement) were a priority at this COP, as it was the only issue of the Paris rulebook that was not concluded last year in Katowice. The discussion on Article 6 were not concluded in Madrid due to disagreements over environmental and social integrity in the carbon market through avoiding double counting, keeping outdated efforts out of the Paris Agreement and implementing social and environmental safeguards. Countries will continue discussing the Article 6 next year. 

Ulriikka Aarnio, International Climate Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe said: “This COP should have answered peoples’ rallying cry for increased climate action. Instead, the negotiations on carbon markets focused on creating loopholes and ways to slice out climate ambition in the current and already inadequate targets.

Anything that undermines climate ambition and harms communities who are the least responsible for the climate crisis would be a backsliding from the promises made in Paris. In that sense, it is a relief that many countries are still committed to the Paris Agreement principles and refused to adopt the loopholes in carbon markets at COP25.”

During COP25, the Belgian Federal government has doubled its previous contribution to the Green Climate Fund to 100 million euro. Many European countries, mainly Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria, are still expected to double their contributions. In addition, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Ireland and first-time contributor Poland made contributions to the Adaptation Fund. 

Rachel Simon, Climate Finance Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe said: “European countries can recognise the climate emergency and support developing countries in enhancing their climate pledges, by continuing to scale up climate finance, in particular for adaptation, as the 100 billion dollar annual goal enters into force in 2020.”

CAN Europe members made the following statements wrapping up COP25: 

Floris Faber, EU representative of ACT Alliance EU said:  “It’s time to step-up and help fill the finance gap! 2020 must be a year of demonstrable effort to reduce emissions and demonstrable provisions of new and additional finance to developing countries, to address loss and damage.” 

Leia Achampong, Policy Advisor at ACT Alliance EU said: “The voices of vulnerable and marginalised communities in developing countries, including women, young people, indigenous peoples and transgender communities must be heard. Their calls can no longer go unanswered and their human rights must be upheld.” 

Sam Van den Plas, Policy Director, Carbon Market Watch said: “People all over the world are asking for urgent action and several countries only offered accounting tricks and cover for climate inaction. These loopholes are nothing but a way of cheating the climate and betraying the people. What was on the table here could have been a real disaster for the Paris Agreement. We need carbon markets to increase climate action, not undermine it, to protect the environment and to uphold human rights and benefit local communities.”

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International: “We have witnessed two weeks of negotiations in which developed countries, especially the United States, have largely refused to heed the most vulnerable countries’ reasonable demands for support when they are hit by climate disasters. It is not the house of the rich countries that is burning, it is the land of the poor – but it is the rich countries’ emissions that have set the fire. With the disappointing loss and damage outcome from COP25, including a vague mandate for the Green Climate Fund, the fight for new and additional resources and climate justice will continue.”

Brice Böhmer, Global Lead on Climate Governance Integrity, Transparency International said: “The fossil fuel industry exerts disproportionate, moneyed influence over climate policy making: this is what happened in Madrid. Climate policy must serve the interests of all people and the planet, not just a few private concerns. We urgently need to shift perspectives and stop corruption and undue influence if we want to win the fight against climate change”       

Chiara Martinelli, Senior Advisor, CIDSE said: “Robust social and environmental safeguards based on respect for Human Rights didn’t find space in the COP25 outcomes. That must be included in order to make sure that any action implemented under the Paris Agreement does not harm local communities. The powerful voices of indigenous communities must be heard, and their collective rights respected. Free, prior, and informed consent and an independent grievance mechanism are essential if we are to enable people to flourish and enhance the dignity of all peoples.” 


Goksen Sahin, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator,, +32 468 45 39 20

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.



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