Minister Schmidt: “Developing countries face many socio-environmental problems that are only aggravated by global warming”
“It is therefore time to act. It isn’t a slogan. It is a need, an imperative. Every measure that is not taken, every commitment that is not made is a step backwards in the fight against climate change,” she added at a press conference in Madrid leading into the launch of COP25.
Environment Minister and COP25 President Carolina Schmidt offered profound reflections on the social crisis that the country is facing and spoke about the importance of this conference –the most important environmental event in the world- for addressing the climate crisis that our planet is facing.
During a press conference in Madrid prior to the launch of the event, the Environment Minister noted that “the climate crisis is the most important challenge that humanity is facing. It will have a multiplying effect, severely accentuating existing social and environmental inequalities. Climate change is unjust because it mainly affects the most vulnerable people and the most vulnerable nations.”
Minister Schmidt said that it was painful not to host COP25 in Chile, but assured her audience that “we are not giving up on our profound belief in the importance of the role that Chileans and the entire world can play in our efforts to promote urgent climate action.”
She noted that Chile undertook the Presidency of COP in representation of all of Latin America and the Caribbean after Brazil declined to do so last year. “We did so precisely because we believe that developing countries are most affected by climate change and that we have many socio-environmental problems that are only aggravated by global warming. We can only take on those problems if we work on them together multilaterally,” she explained.
Minister Schmidt recognized that the world is experiencing an unprecedented climate and environmental crisis. She provided examples, such as the fact that the global temperature is on track to be the warmest in history, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it has ever been, energy industry emissions continue to grow at a frenetic pace, and Antarctica is melting three times faster than it was a decade ago.
“In view of all of this, it is time to act. It is not a slogan. It is a need, an imperative for all countries. None of us can solve this on our own. Every measure that is not taken, every commitment that is not made is a step backwards in the fight against climate change,” said the Minister and President of COP25.
The Presidency of COP25
As the President of COP25, Minister Schmidt will lead the negotiations, and she outlined her goals for them. The main objective is to increase ambition in climate action including mitigation, adaptation and implementation measures. She thus announced that the Climate Action Alliance will be updated during the conference to include new stakeholders and issues and focus on the participation of local governments and companies.
“In order to achieve implementation and be more ambitious, we must bring new issues, matters and stakeholders to the table. The private –productive and financial- sector, local governments and sectorial ministries must bring specific statements and opportunities for collaboration. Without new stakeholders or new issues, it will be difficult for us to overcome the gap we currently face in terms of reducing emissions,” Minister Schmidt explained.
She also noted that this will continue to be a Blue COP, and that a platform of climate solutions for the ocean will be launched and featured in COP decisions. She also said that science is key for making decisions and that its relevance is not negotiable.
Minister Schmidt emphasized the fact that COP25 will be Latin American even though it is being held in Madrid. “The site is European, but the COP is Latin American and the presidency will ensure that that identity is maintained. For example, adaptation will be highlighted through a high-level dialogue in order to recognize the difficulties and vulnerabilities that developing countries face,” Minister Schmidt said.
The situation in Chile
As she began her remarks, Minister Schmidt mentioned the current situation in Chile, stating that the country has been an example of economic development for a long time. However, she added, “the reality has shown that it was not shared, allotted or distributed in an equitable manner.”
“Chile woke up on October 18. The great majority of Chileans have expressed this in a civic-minded, democratic way. However, a small minority did so violently, compromising the right of all Chileans to live in peace,” she said.
“The most difficult part of this situation is obviously the lives that were lost. But I want to be clear: the government has a complete commitment to and unlimited respect for human rights. We received the reports on human rights that the government itself requested, and they were very concerning and painful to read. Once the information is known, the appropriate actions will be taken. There will be no impunity,” she remarked.