UN Climate Change Conference – closing with cautious optimism

Source: press release, 15 December 2019

Minister Ola Elvestuen and youth delegate Sofie Nordvik gave a joint statement at the closing plenary of the climate conference in Madrid on Sunday, 15 December (photo: KLD)
Minister Ola Elvestuen and youth delegate Sofie Nordvik gave a joint statement at the closing plenary of the climate conference in Madrid on Sunday, 15 December (photo: KLD)

During the closing plenary of COP 25 in Madrid, the statement by Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen, struck a cautiously positive note, pointing out that including Norway, 80 countries pledged to step up efforts to meet goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.

According to Minister Elvestuen,

“While we have struggled in the formal negotiations leaving key issues unsolved, this COP has displayed a strong notion of action. By countries, organisations, businesses and stakeholders. We have seen that solutions for low emission pathways are available. And we know that ambition foster innovation, job opportunities and green economic growth. I am hopeful that this combined will give all countries the necessary confidence to step up its nationally determined contributions in 2020.”

Minister Elvestuen specifically pointed to his work with Grenada’s Minister, Simon Stiell, concerning the ministerial review of the Warsaw International Mechanism and ensuring that developing countries continue to be supported in their efforts to manage the impact of climate change.

The Minister’s comment was echoed in the Decision 1/CP.25, “Chile Madrid Time for Action”, which was agreed to in the conference’s final hours, that the Conference of the Parties, “Emphasises the continued challenges that developing countries face in accessing financial, technology and capacity-building support, and recognises the urgent need to enhance the provision of support to developing country Parties for strengthening their national adaptation and mitigation efforts.”

Before turning the floor over to Norway’s youth delegate, Minister Elvestuen commented on the future:

“All decisions we make today will have consequences for our future ability to prosper. We must therefore stand united with our children and youth to take the necessary decisions to create pathways to a low emission future.”

Sofie Nordvik, Norway’s youth delegate closed Norway’s statement, with a call for stepping up action:

“We lack the ambition needed to avoid this climate emergency. We are far from where we need to reach our international commitments of stopping global warming at 1.5 degrees. Now is the time for all countries to provide real action. World leaders need to step up. Our Nationally Determined contributions must be in line with the IPCC-reports. Only then will we have a chance to save our future and avoid more human suffering. Our future also depends on more support and finance to poor and vulnerable countries and communities who will suffer the biggest consequences of climate change. It is not a choice, but our duty to take action.”

“The world would have looked different if young people were in charge today. We don’t have the time to wait for us to be the ones that takes the final decisions. Youth are finished being an inspiration – use our solutions. Take the right decisions for our future and for all the people suffering the consequences of climate change today.”

“Don’t let us down.”

The entire statement is available at the Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment website.