Spain Offers to Host COP25 Climate Talks in Madrid After Chile Bows Out
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera of Chile said in a press conference in Santiago Thursday that acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had offered to host the summit in Madrid, The New York Times reported.
"Spain believe that multilateral climate action is a priority for both the UN and the EU, and one which demands the highest commitment from all of us," Spain's statement said, according to The Guardian.
He trasladado al presidente de Chile, @sebastianpinera, la disposición de #España para acoger la Cumbre del Clima e… https://t.co/PK7zhnh3OF— Pedro Sánchez (@Pedro Sánchez)1572540763.0
The conference was supposed to be held in Chile from Dec. 2 to 13, but Piñera stepped away from hosting after his country was rocked by weeks of demonstrations against income inequality and police repression.
Carolina Schmidt, the Chilean environment minister and president-designate of COP25, communicated Spain's offer to the UN, which will consider it next week, according to The Guardian. Spain has offered to host the talks, but Chile would retain presidency over them, The New York Times explained.
The conference, which is expected to draw around 20,000 delegates, would discuss the implementation of the Paris agreement to keep global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, in an attempt to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
"It is encouraging to see countries working together in the spirit of multilateralism to address climate change, the biggest challenge facing this and future generations," Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa said in a statement.
The Government of #Chile, as incoming #COP25 Presidency, has informed me that they received a generous offer of sup… https://t.co/o3J871X7GM— Patricia Espinosa C. (@Patricia Espinosa C.)1572540945.0
However, some are concerned with what it could mean for the talks to move them away from Chile.
"It's a shame that COP25 won't be held in Latin America to highlight some of the grave climate impacts that affect the region," Dr Kat Kramer, Christian Aid's global climate lead, told BBC News. "But hopefully a Madrid summit will be able to keep those in mind. Credit should be given to the Spanish government for offering to help at such short notice considering these often take more than a year to organise."
E3G policy adviser Jennifer Tollman, meanwhile, worried about those who had booked non-refundable tickets or made other hard-to-cancel plans.
"A lot of people sank a lot of money into this. For participants in developing countries this is a huge issue. Without support, this could impact participation by the global south," Tollman told The Guardian.
More broadly, the protests that forced Chile to step away from hosting the conference show the importance of incorporating social justice into any plan for climate action.
"Climate policy has to be social policy. That's what will be discussed inside and outside the negotiation rooms," Tollman said.
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By Alex Kirby
The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.
Melt Ponds Crucial<p>"The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focusing all our minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible."</p><p><a href="http://www.reading.ac.uk/search/search-staff-details.aspx?id=10813" target="_blank">Dr. David Schroeder from the University of Reading</a>, UK, who co-led the implementation of the melt pond scheme in the climate model, says, "This shows just how important sea ice processes like melt ponds are in the Arctic, and why it is crucial that they are incorporated into climate models."</p><p>The extent of the areas <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/formation.html" target="_blank">sea ice</a> covers varies between summer and winter. If more solar energy is absorbed at the surface, and temperatures rise further, a cycle of warming and melting occurs during summer months.</p><p>When the ice forms, the ocean water beneath becomes saltier and denser than the surrounding ocean. Saltier water sinks and moves along the ocean bottom towards the equator, while warm water from mid-depths to the surface travels from the equator towards the poles.</p><p>Scientists refer to this process as the ocean's global "conveyor-belt." Changes to the volume of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, with consequences for global climate. </p>
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Putin's Daughter Among Vaccinated<p>The Russian leader also said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated and is feeling well.</p><p>"One of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in the testing," Putin said.</p><p>After the first vaccine shot, his daughter experienced a slight fever, 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F). Her temperature came down to just slightly above normal the next day. </p><p>"After the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine. She is feeling well and has a high antibody count," Putin said. </p><p>He didn't specify which of his two daughters, Maria or Katerina, received the vaccine.</p><p>Russian health authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to receive shots of the vaccine.</p>
Years of Work Reduced to Weeks<p>Russia is the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine. As <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/germany-coronavirus-vaccine-may-only-be-available-in-mid-2021/a-54362065" target="_blank">countries worldwide race to produce the first vaccine</a>, health experts warn that speed and national pride could compromise safety.</p><p>Scientists in Russia and abroad have questioned Moscow's decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people, but Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary trials and that vaccination will be voluntary.</p><p>Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will begin in September, and mass vaccination may start as early as October.</p><p>Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-duterte-volunteers-to-be-putins-russian-coronavirus-vaccine-guinea-pig/a-54523030" target="_blank">lauded Russia's efforts in developing the vaccine</a> and said that the Philippines is ready to work with Moscow on vaccine trials, supply and production. Duterte volunteered to "be the first they can experiment on."</p><p>"I will tell President Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity," Duterte said, adding that he thinks Russia's vaccine will be ready for the Philippines by December.</p>
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