The 2019 UN climate change conference began on Monday in Madrid, with leaders looking for solutions to reduce global carbon levels. Leaders originally planned for the conference to be held in Chile, but due to political instability, the conference was moved to Madrid, where it will take place over the next two weeks.
The conference started with statements from prominent leaders, notably António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General. Guterres urged leaders to select the “path of hope.” He characterized this choice as:
A path of resolve, of sustainable solutions. A path where more fossil fuels remain where they should be–in the ground–and where we are on the way to carbon neutrality by 2050. That is the only way to limit global temperature rise to the necessary 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.
The conference begins as new evidence shows record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The World Meteorological Organization released a bulletin concluding that carbon levels were at 407.8 parts per million in 2018. Guterres mentioned the report in his remarks, noting that 400 parts per million were once considered “unthinkable.”
Global cooperation on reduced carbon emissions remains an uncertainty. US President Donald Trump ordered the US to withdraw from the Global Paris Climate deal. There is some speculation that the EU and China will be making a climate deal next September.