UN climate talks end in deadlock

Monday 16th December 2019 | Jake

Last weekend saw countries come together in Madrid to discuss climate change at COP25, the annual UN climate talks. However, a year which saw a wave of climate protests and an explosive surge of youth protestors has done little to alert world leaders to the urgency of the climate crisis, events in Madrid suggested.

Four years after Paris climate accord was adopted, Madrid’s talks centred on what members can do to reach the goals agreed on in 2015. Hardly any countries arrived to the talks with a clear plan on how to honour their pledges to the Paris climate deal, although the EU did agree on a target of net zero emissions by 2050, according to the Guardian.

In Paris countries agreed to try and keep global heating to no more than 2c. This year’s summit in Madrid tried to focus on more precise details, such as work on the global carbon markets, a system which allows countries to trade their cut emissions with countries struggling to cut theirs. This work remained unresolved, and countries will revisit the debate on carbon markets and trading emissions credits next year.

Aside from the minimal progress, the biggest controversy from COP25 came when the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) accused some richer nations of intentionally stalling progress on climate change. The BBC reports AOSIS condemned Brazil, China and India for blocking an agreement on global carbon markets in order to delay further talks and action on the Paris climate accord.

AOSIS were also highly critical of the compromises being demanded of poorer nations during the talks. "What's before us is a level of compromise so profound that it underscores a lack of ambition, seriousness about the climate emergency and the urgent need to secure the fate of our islands." Said AOSIS’s chief negotiator, Carlos Fuller.