Trump fails to attend UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid as Spanish PM Sánchez says only a handful of fanatics still deny climate change

Updated 3 December: The UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) has opened in Madrid where it is being held between today and 13 December after relocating first from Brazil and then Chile. Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina J Mohammed, said that Spain stepping into the breach is “a tremendous demonstration of solidarity and urgent leadership needed for climate solutions”.

COP is an acronym for “conference of the parties” under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which seeks to bind all countries by treaty to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid climate change as far as possible. The Paris Agreement is the result of one such conference, and Spain is clearly leading the way at COP25 with Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez saying that “only a handful of fanatics now deny the global evidence of climate change”.

Whether or not we can infer that Sánchez was implicating Donald Trump in his handful, the US President will not be attending COP25 even though he is already in Europe for a fraught NATO summit in London. The American leader does not accept the scientific evidence of global heating and the US is sending not a single senior member of the administration to the conference. Trump’s potential nemesis in the impeachment hearings, however, Congressional Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is there with a delegation with what she says is an effort to reassure world leaders that some in the United States do have a commitment to combating the climate crisis.

Those who wish to follow the conference’s main themes can do so on twitter HERE, and there is a COP25 dedicated website HERE. One delegate still to arrive is Greta Thunberg who is expected to reach Madrid shortly. After sailing back across the Atlantic she arrived in Portugal this morning and will be taking a train to Madrid later today.

Original post 1 November: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez might be in full electoral flow with the country going to the polls next weekend, on Sunday 10 November, but that hasn’t stopped him approving of the invitation issued by Teresa Ribera, Minister for Ecological Transition, to teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. The Government department is new, instituted only last year, and has been set up, says the Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente, to guarantee a sustainable development and an ecological transition for future generations who will have to face the consequences of governmental measures taken today: the IIDMA says that political support for fossil fuels will end, with climate change policies being prioritised by the Government, and Ribera’s invitation can clearly be seen in this context.

The minister’s invitation to Thunberg is in connection with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) which is being held in Madrid between 2 and 13 December. It was tabled to be held in Chile after the original plans for it to be held in Brazil were cancelled by Jair Bolsonaro, but social unrest in Chile has forced the cancellation of the replacement plans. Spain has now stepped into the breach, earning gratitude specifically from the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina J Mohammed, who said that the move, “formulated in just days, is a tremendous demonstration of solidarity and urgent leadership needed for climate solutions”.

Now, Thunberg herself might attend, with Ribera telling her that she’s “made a long journey and help all of us to raise concern, open minds and enhance action”. Thunberg is in New York for a climate change conference and was intending to head onto Chile for COP25. Now, however, it is in Madrid instead, and Ribera said that Spain would love to help the teenager return across the Atlantic, possibly even in some style, replacing her eco-yacht across the Atlantic with the Spanish presidential plane, Falcon, whose coordinators have told the minister that they’ve already been in touch with Thunberg to offer their services and are awaiting an answer. Spain’s looking to the future, and it’s green.

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