Madrid Climate Summit: Talks End Without a Deal on Carbon Targets

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Climate talks during the Climate Summit in Madrid, have failed to reach an agreement to reduce global carbon emissions.

More than 40 hours after the planned closure, countries did reach an agreement at COP 25 this afternoon. At the climate summit, all countries promised to ‘tighten up’ their climate protection targets. But the most important objective has not been achieved: there are no concrete agreements on rules for the international trade in emission rights. Delegates have postponed a decision on global carbon markets which put a price on the emission of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Those agreements have been postponed until next year. The climate conference in Glasgow next year will have to resolve this issue. It was one of the few concrete negotiating objectives of the UN Climate conference.

Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund are therefore strongly critical of the outcome of the conference. They consider the international efforts for more climate protection to be insufficient and speak of a deep crisis. Those groups are accusing the world’s richer countries of showing little commitment to seriously tackling climate change. “The Paris Agreement may have been the victim of a hit-and-run by a handful of powerful carbon economies, but they are on the wrong side of this struggle, the wrong side of history,” said Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International’s executive director.

In the emissions trading system, companies have to buy emission rights to emit CO2, the most important greenhouse gas. By reducing the total number of emission rights in rotation and price increases, technologies that emit less will become more attractive. It has not been possible to tighten up these rules. Various European and non-European countries have stated that no agreements are better than bad agreements in this respect.

President Trump

President Trump didn’t go himself. He sent a diplomat to the climate conference in Madrid. Trump already announced before that the US will leave the Paris Climate Agreement. But the US does want to “continue to participate in negotiations and meetings on climate change, such as the COP 25, to ensure that the rules of the game remain fair and to protect US interests”, the US Department of State said.

The Democrats sent their own delegation to Spain, led by Nancy Pelosi. “It is an honor to lead a delegation to combat the most existential threat of our time: the climate crisis”. “On behalf of Congress, I am proud to go to COP 25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people to fight the climate crisis. The Democrats are very strongly against the exit from the Paris agreement.

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