COP25 Process a Phenomenal Failure – Elizabeth May

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks with media at Press Conference in Thunder Bay
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks with media at Press Conference in Thunder Bay

MADRID  — Speaking on Monday morning, following the failed talks in Madrid, Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), described the talks as “Far from the worst, but a phenomenal failure to meet the demands of science, the peoples of the world and particularly the children of the school strike movement. We have failed Greta and all she inspires.”

“I have a very large concern that the unwieldy massive COP process may be blamed for this failure.  Turning against multilateralism right now would be a grave error. We have no other way to avoid runaway global warming.  A global problem like the climate emergency requires global action. But it desperately needs political leadership. I call on Prime Minister Trudeau to take a strong stand early in 2020. Canada must step up with a new 2030 target  – consistent with the pledge to carbon neutrality by 2050. Tabling our new 2030 target and committing to going off fossil fuels as quickly as possible can kick-start efforts by others to ensure strong global action to hold to 1.5 degrees.  We can survive a failed COP in Madrid, but we will not recover if political leadership fails at COP26 in Glasgow.”

May was one of the four opposition MPs who, along with Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, served on Canada’s delegation.  She was the only one left as the talks dragged on to their dispiriting finish Sunday afternoon in Madrid.

“At points through the final days of COP25, some draft texts were far worse than the final outcome. At least we pushed the call for enhanced targets to be tabled in 2020 to be grounded in science and address the gap between what is required and what is, so far, politically committed. We also averted accepting rules for carbon trading under article 6 that could have undermined the entire Paris architecture for climate action. But the talks failed to make the progress the world needs.”

May mentioned specifically the destructive role of the USA and Brazil, noting the increasing anger from countries around the world that the USA, planning to withdraw from Paris, obstructed progress for the future working of the agreement. “One of the most dramatic statements in the closing session was that of Tuvalu referring to USA obstruction as potentially ‘crimes against humanity,’ a remark that drew much applause.”