UNITED NATIONS, Dec 15 (APP):The United Nations Climate Conference, known as COP25, ended Sunday in Madrid, Spain, with a partial agreement to ask countries to come up with more ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the terms of the 2015 Paris accord, according to media and UN reports.
Experts say more ambitious emissions cuts are needed globally if the Paris pledge to hold global heating to no more than 2C is to be met.
But they regretted big polluting countries blocked an agreement to enhance climate targets and deferring until next year a set of rules on international carbon trading.
The United States, which is planning to abandon the Paris climate agreement next year, resisted an agreement on how to compensate poor countries for the economic losses they suffer from climate catastrophes, though there was a general endorsement of finding a way to help them. At issue was whether historic polluters like the United States could be held liable in the future.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres offered an unusually blunt assessment of the Madrid negotiations, formally known as the Conference of Parties. “I am disappointed with the results of #COP25,” he said on Twitter. “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis.”
“We must not give up, and I will not give up,” Guterres said.
“I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise,” the UN chief said.
Splits emerged over how to create a global carbon trading market, an issue that scuppered the last climate talks in Poland, and which has again been delayed until the next meeting in Glasgow.
The Madrid summit–moved at the last minute from Chile due to unrest–at times teetered on the brink of collapse as the rich polluters, emerging powerhouses and climate-vulnerable nations struggled to find common ground.
Besides the US, Brazil, China, Australia and Saudi Arabia had led resistance to bolder action, delegates said.
Meanwhile, Laurence Tubiana from the European Climate Foundation, and an architect of the Paris agreement, said: “Major players who needed to deliver in Madrid did not live up to expectations.
“But thanks to a progressive alliance of small island states, European, African and Latin American countries, we obtained the best possible outcome, against the will of big polluters,” Tubiana added.
The US was accused of playing the villain at the climate summit, notably dragging its feet on so-called “loss and damage” funding to disaster-hit countries.
“They continue to block the world’s efforts to help people whose lives have been turned upside down by climate change,” Harjeet Singh, a climate expert with the charity ActionAid was quoted as saying .
Sunday’s agreement fell well short of what science says is needed to tackle the climate emergency.
Despite a year of deadly extreme weather and weekly strikes by millions of young people demanding action, campaigners criticized a deal they described as watered down and weak.
Many wanted to see more explicit language spelling out the importance of countries submitting bolder pledges on emissions, it was pointed out.
Yet, in the world of climate diplomacy, the difference between “shall” and “should” can be debated for days, and determine whether a treaty has teeth or is toothless.
“Based on the adopted text, there is a glimmer of hope that the heart of the Paris Agreement is still beating,” said Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift, referring to the treaty inked in the French capital. “But its pulse is very weak.”
Scottish bagpipes were heard in Madrid on Friday, marking next year’s climate conference, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26, due to be held in December 2020, is being touted as an important milestone in the fight against climate change, because countries will be expected to present upgraded national climate plans, that go beyond commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement.