SAN JOSE – Approximately 1,500 participants from 86 countries, including Chilean Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt, attended the PreCOP25 event in Costa Rica last week. The event focused on efforts to tackle environmental problems, meet global emission reduction goals, and human rights related to climate change. The event paves the way for the upcoming COP25 in Chile this year.
Last week, representatives from 86 countries attended a preparatory event, PreCOP25, to make a worldwide call to fight climate change through nature-focused solutions, like the increase of urban green areas, low-carbon meat production, and the restoration of endangered ecosystems.
Organized by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the event took place in Costa Rica’s capital San José from October 8 to 10. Among the participants was Chile’s Environmental Minister Carolina Schmidt, who is also the designated leader of the COP25, which will take place Dec. 2-13 in Santiago.
Focus on Urban Areas
According to PreCOP25 data, 75-95% of CO2 emissions come from cities, even though urban areas represent only 3% of the planet’s surface. Therefore, urban areas are key to confront the problem. Decision makers should thus seek sustainable economic models and acknowledge the voice of local communities to reduce inequality. “The approach to climate change cannot be conventional. We need an integrated effort from entire political structures,” Costa Rica’s Environmental Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, said.
The summit referred to the Paris Agreement as common ground of action. This agreement focuses on keeping global temperature rise below 2 °C and enabling countries to better react to the impact of climate change. To this end, every country defines Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which were strongly pointed out during the PreCOP25.
Other topics at the event included sustainable economies and “blue economies,” which are based on biotechnology. Blue economies avoid environmental stress and ensure social and economic benefits for citizens through local and nature based production systems. These economies actively stimulate the use of renewable energy, such as solar energy and with low-carbon industries. The ocean-based clean economic solutions promote sustainable fisheries and more efforts for conservation alongside production.
As the host of the next COP25, Chile can demonstrate action and promote its own NDC’s. According to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) records, “in June Chile announced its plan to completely phase out coal by 2040 and aim towards carbon-neutrality by 2050,” a move that could bring the country to the 1.5 °C heat-rise contribution range in the world’s efforts to fight global warming.
Currently, Chile stands in the 4 °C range, which marks highly insufficient action. In CAT’s words, if every country was in Chile’s range, global warming would reach between 3° to 4 °C in 2100.
Although the Chilean situation is not as encouraging as hoped, Chilean delegate Julio Cordano looked hopeful at the scientific power nations hold to make a change. As he stated at the event’s closure: “Science, the foundation of all action for the climate, leaves us without any doubt: we are still doing things right.”
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.