Even as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which holds a ‘conference of parties’ (to the Convention) every year, grapples with the task of finding an alternative host after Chile backed out of holding the meeting this year, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has termed the conferences as “useless”.

Jairam Ramesh, a former Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the current Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, was an Indian negotiator at the COP15 that was held in Copenhangen, Denmark, in 2009.

“These COPs are useless, since they meet (only) to decide where and when to meet again,” Ramesh told BusinessLine , when asked for a reaction on the cancellation of COP25. “They are forums for posturing,” he said.

Some experts say that while that may be true, the COP meetings are more a symbol of climate action, a rallying point — so, even if nothing much is achieved, the gatherings do a lot to highlight climate issues.

“Climate action has acquired a life beyond the COP meetings,” observes Damandeep Singh, Director, CDP India, which is part of CDP Worldwide, a not-for-profit organisation that also works in the area of climate action. He told BusinessLine that the cancellation of COP25 is a setback inasmuch as “people can’t sit and talk”.

Aarti Khosla, Director at Climate Trends, a Delhi-based strategic communications body that specialises in building narratives around climate change, said Chile backing out is an illustration of the complexities of climate change. Khosla told BusinessLine that for a country (Chile) that had committed to generating a fifth of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, the domestic protests — which were triggered by the government raising the tariff hike in the shift to renewables — “lays bare the tough road ahead for climate action.”

She said it was necessary “to secure another venue and carry on with the proceedings” before the Paris Agreement comes into force next year.