Delegates from almost 200 countries have begun a two-week international climate conference in Madrid that seeks to step up efforts to stop global warming.
The conference began on Monday with the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning that the efforts so far are insufficient to overcome the “point of no return” in climate change.
Guterres says that what is lacking is the ‘political will’
The two-week COP25 meeting commenced with the passing of the presidency to Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s environment minister.
Schmidt has called the meeting “the COP of implementation,” as delegates will try to resolve sticking points of last year’s conference in Poland’s Katowice.
Guterres warned that cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases that have been agreed so far under the 2015 Paris agreement were “utterly inadequate” to limit temperature rises to a goal of between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Delegates are also under pressure from mounting global calls for climate action, spearheaded by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg
On Friday, thousands of protesters gathered in cities from Australia to India and Europe, citing the “climate emergency” declared by EU lawmakers a day earlier and growing scientific evidence of the dire consequences of global heating.
COP25 is seen as a stepping stone to next year’s even more crucial summit when countries must step up their commitments to tackle the climate crisis under the Paris accord.