Spain offers Madrid as host of December UN climate summit

International

Youngsters shout slogans during a small protest by Extinction Rebellion climate change activists outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s interim leader has offered to have Madrid host an international U.N. climate conference next month that was originally scheduled to be held in riot-struck Chile.

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on Wednesday canceled plans to host the Dec. 2-13 climate gathering, as well as a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders, to focus on restoring security in his country, where at least a dozen people have died.

A statement Thursday from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s office said he offered the space because he understands why the Chilean government needs to prioritize its “national social agenda” and how pressed organizers of the COP25 meeting are, given the last-minute switch.

Sánchez, a Socialist, is trying to stay in power as Spain holds a general election on Nov. 10.

Spain said U.N. officials will consider Spain’s proposal next week at their meeting in Bonn, Germany. It wasn’t immediately clear on what scale the conference would be held if Madrid is chosen as an alternative. Last year’s climate conference in Katowice, Poland, was attended by more than 20,000 people.

U.N. Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said Spain’s offer would allow organizers to host the summit on its original timetable.

“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,” Espinosa said.

Other options could be shifting the U.N. conference to a different month. Other possible host sites include major U.N. venues in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Bonn or Nairobi, Kenya.

The COP25 conference aims to work out some of the remaining unresolved rules for countries on climate efforts, smoothing the way for a bigger climate effort at the 2020 summit to encourage countries to increase commitments to cutting their climate-changing emissions.

Speaking Thursday in Santiago de Chile, Piñera called Sánchez’s offer “generous” said it would allow climate experts to put together “all the progress that had been achieved.”

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Frank Jordans in Berlin and Eva Vergara in Santiago, Chile, contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s full coverage of climate change issues at https://www.apnews.com/Climate

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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