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Longest UN Climate Talks End With Glaring Omission

No deal on carbon markets after 2 weeks of talks in Madrid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2019 6:34 AM CST
Chilean Environment Minister and chair of COP25 Carolina Schmidt takes part at the COP25 climate talks congress in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. The United Nations Secretary-General has warned...   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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(Newser) Marathon international climate talks ended Sunday with negotiators postponing until next year a key decision on how to regulate global carbon markets. After two weeks of negotiations in Madrid on tackling global warming, delegates from almost 200 nations passed declarations calling for greater ambition in cutting greenhouse gases and in helping poor countries suffering the effects of climate change. But the AP reports that despite holding the longest climate talks ever they left one of the thorniest issues for the 2020 summit in Glasgow. Carbon markets put a price on emission of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and allow countries or companies to trade emissions permits that can be steadily reduced—encouraging the uptake of low-emission technologies. Countries from Europe and elsewhere had said that no deal on how to govern the exchange of carbon credits was better than a weak one that could undermine a dozen or so existing regional carbon mechanisms.

The talks have been accompanied at times by angry protests from indigenous and environmental groups. The demonstrations reflected growing frustration, particularly among young people, at the slow pace of efforts to curb climate change. Among the documents that the UN meeting passed Sunday was the "Chile-Madrid Time for Action” declaration calling on countries to improve their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is needed to come in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement target of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Chile chaired the talks, which had to be quickly moved to Madrid amid violent anti-government protests back home. Helen Mountford from World Resources Institute said the talks “reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the streets. They need to wake up in 2020."

(Read more climate change stories.)

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