The final negotiated outcome tries to balance the need to step up efforts to address climate change with the need for accountability over failure to deliver on past promises. However, the final result fails to reflect either the urgency for action or a willingness to step up efforts given the failures of the past.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “disappointed” with the results of COP25. “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis,” he said. The UN chief urged the world not to give up, and said neither would he. Former US Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing said, “The outcome of this session demonstrates how far we have to go in our collective effort to address climate change.”
On Saturday, countries worked on addressing the differences over the structure of international carbon trading. As the chair of the current round of talks, Chile’s environment minister Carolina Schmidt held talks with several key developed and developing countries in an effort to balance the need for ambition and accountability.
She said, “We are almost there. It's hard, it's difficult, but it's worth it.” However, there was a sense among vulnerable developing countries that they were being left out of crucial conversations. New Guinea’s climate envoy Kevin Conrad said, “Over the last 24 hours, 90% of the participants have not been involved in this process.”
Despite the efforts by countries to find a common ground, the differences proved to be too wide and entrenched to bridge. Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at Union of Concerned Scientists, who has been attending climate negotiations since they first started in 1991, said, “Never have I seen the almost total disconnect we’ve seen here in Madrid between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action.”
(The reporter travelled to Madrid for COP25 at the invitation of the Global Editors Network, a non-profit non-governmental association committed to sustainable journalism)
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