Longest UN climate talks end with no deal on carbon markets


With most of the countries and negotiating blocks at the United Nations climate conference being unhappy with the draft text on the COP25 outcome, the ongoing talks on Saturday further dragged on, beyond 24 hours of its official deadline, to have some result at the end.

One of the key issues that was to be resolved at the summit was how to regulate carbon markets, which would put a price on emitting carbon dioxide.

BP, the former British Petroleum, expects oil consumption to climb from today's 100 million barrels a day to 125 million by the mid-2030s, by which time peak demand will have been reached. "There are one or two parties that seem hellbent on ensuring any calls for ambition, action, environmental integrity are rolled back", he added.

Scientists say countries need to stop burning fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest to ensure global temperatures don't rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) this century.

But greater ambition - how far each country is willing to slash carbon emissions or assist less wealthy peers to do likewise - has largely failed to materialise, leaving some veteran observers aghast.

In Madrid, climate activists including many young people demanded that negotiators and world leaders do better to stem global warming.

"The difference between the youth on the streets and the negotiations is that the youth on the streets are acting with urgency", she said. As hosts, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government faces the task of persuading countries to submit more ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions.

Ministers from this "high ambition coalition" have called out countries they see as blocking a consensus call for all countries to step up, notably the United States, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

These emerging giants chose instead to emphasise the historical responsibility of rich nations to lead the way and provide financing to poor countries. "It will be a pretty mediocre outcome".

The summit was also meant to finalise a chapter on carbon markets in the Paris rulebook.

Some nations, notably Brazil and Australia, want to count carbon credits accumulated under a previous climate deal as part of their commitments under the Paris goals.

The argument that carbon markets that are not transparent enough and leave loopholes for double counting can undermine efforts to reduce emissions won at the end, postponing the decision on the issue for Glasgow.

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But at the insistence of the US, Brazil and China, the final decision text was weak: recalling countries' commitment under the Paris Agreement to "communicate or update" their climate plans by 2020.

Harjeet Singh, ActionAid's global lead on climate change, who has been following the loss and damage negotiations for over a decade, said: "Developing countries must stay strong in negotiations about finance for loss and damage".

"We are all looking for a compromise", said Frans Timmermans, the European Commission's top official in charge of climate issues.

Even if nations in Madrid snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and agree to implement their pledges, Earth is on course to warm more than 3C by 2100. "People across the world must rise to save the planet".

The carbon-market failure did not upset everyone.

"This is the biggest disconnect between this process and what's going on in the real world that I've seen", Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Washington Post.

"We must not give up, and I will not give up", Guterres said.

One was to make clear their intention to draw down more of the greenhouse gases baking our planet and unleashing - with only one degree Celsius of warming - a cascade of deadly droughts, heatwaves and superstorms made more destructive by rising seas.

Extinction Rebellion, a grass-root environment activist group, staged protest in Madrid, coinciding with the closing of the COP25 summit, at the Spanish capital.

"A weak encouragement will not be understood by the outside world", he said.

Negotiators have told the that the obstinacy of some countries was limiting agreement on non-contentious questions.

"We will never accept the destruction you are bringing as inevitable", he added.