By Lise Alves, Contributing Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – As representatives from nearly 200 countries gather in Madrid, Spain for the United Nation’s COP25, analysts believe that one of the key focuses of the Conference will be the oceans and sea level rise. COP-25 is scheduled to run from December 2nd to December 13th, with over fifty heads of states and 25,000 participants expected to attend.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterrez and UNFCCC's executive secretary Patricia Espinosa during opening of COP25, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, News
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterrez and UNFCCC’s executive secretary Patricia Espinosa during opening of COP25, photo courtesy of UNFCCC.

“In our vision, there cannot be an effective response to climate change without a global response to ocean issues,” Chile’s environment minister and COP-25 president, Carolina Schmidt, said in April of 2019 during a preparatory meeting for the UN Conference.

Although Chile remains as one of the hosts of the Conference, the country’s political upheaval led to a decision to move COP25 to Madrid, Spain.

Much of the talks at COP 25 will be aimed at readying countries to implement the Paris Agreement, but there will be other important issues being discussed outside the negotiations, particularly at side events, including issues dealing with sea level rise.

During the summit, countries are expected to outline their carbon-curbing plans and their long-term plans to get to net zero emissions, as described in the Paris Agreement.

According to analysts, the two hosts of UN climate talks, Chile and Spain, are expected to highlight the world’s most important carbon sponge, the oceans.

“I expect that the focus on the ocean at COP25 will be maintained regardless of the change of venue,” said Rémi Parmentier, coordinator of Because the Ocean, an initiative which seeks to bring ocean issues, including sea level rise, into climate change policy.

“Ocean and climate are two sides of the same coin: if we want to protect the climate, we must protect the ocean, and vice-versa,” added Parmentier during an interview earlier this year.

Although COP-25 delegates work to bring new momentum into the talks however the recent announcement by the U.S. that it was formally withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, have led analysts to fear that commitment to the Agreement’s framework may be at risk.


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