UN talks struggle to stave off climate chaos

AFP
December 14, 2019

MADRID: United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid were set to wrap up on Friday with even the best-case outcome likely to fall well short of what science says is needed to avert a future ravaged...

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MADRID: United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid were set to wrap up on Friday with even the best-case outcome likely to fall well short of what science says is needed to avert a future ravaged by global warming. The COP25 summit comes on the heels of climate-related disasters across the planet, including unprecedented cyclones, deadly droughts and record-setting heatwaves. Scientists have amassed a mountain of evidence pointing to even more dire impacts on the near horizon, while millions of youth activists are holding weekly strikes demanding government action. As pressure inside and outside the talks mounts, old splits between rich polluters and developing nations have re-emerged over who should slash greenhouse gas emissions by how much, and how to pay the trillions needed to live in a climate-addled world. Newer fissures, meanwhile, between poor, climate vulnerable nations and emerging giants such as China and India — the world´s No.1 and No.4 emitters — may further stymie progress. To not lose time, the 12-day meeting was moved at the last minute from original host Chile due to social unrest. But observers and delegates said negotiators had largely failed to live up to the conference´s motto: Time for Action. “We are appalled at the state of negotiations,” said Carlos Fuller, lead negotiator for the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), many of whose members face an existential threat due to rising sea levels. “At this stage we are being cornered. We fear having to concede on too many issues that would damage the very integrity of the Paris Agreement.

The narrow aim of the Madrid negotiations is to finalise the rulebook for the 2015 Paris climate accord, which enjoins nations to limit global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius. Earth has already warmed 1C, and is on track to heat up another two or three degrees by 2100.



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