COP25: UN climate talks drag on beyond deadline

COP25: UN climate talks drag on beyond deadline
COP25: UN climate talks drag on beyond deadline

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The United Nations’ climate change summit in Madrid has dragged on beyond its official deadline as 200 countries wrangle over an agreement.

Speaking at a press conference at the summit, which has been running since Monday, co-ordinator at the COP25 Presidency Andres Landerretche said he hoped work would conclude on Saturday.

Asked whether the talks might be suspended, as was the case in 2000 with COP6, Mr Landerretche said organisers did not envisage the need for a suspension.

“We are working with a view to finishing our work today,” he told reporters. “Hopefully early today or probably early in the night."

On Friday, delegates at the talks worked long in the night and into the early hours of the morning in hopes of hammering out a draft agreement. The deadlock has been taken as an indicator of the international divisions over how to deal with the climate crisis.

"We must show the outside world that we deliver," Chile's Environment Minister, Carolina Schmidt, who is chairing the two-week talks, said as officials prepared to hunker down for further negotiations.

Ms Schmidt urged officials to think of the “overall balance” of the latest draft agreements made during in the intense overnight sessions.

Scrutiny over this most recent round of international talks on climate change has been heightened because of increased popular pressure on the issue.

The ambition and scale of the changes made at the talks, where leading climate change activist Greta Thunberg admonished world leaders for failing to meet the climate challenge, has also been under the spotlight.

Demonstrations outside the venue for the talks in the Spanish capital have characterised the summit.

“Never have I seen the almost total disconnection we've seen here … between what the science requires and the people of the world demand, and what the climate negotiators are delivering," said Alden Meyer, a climate policy specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Mr Meyer explained that the current drafts didn't reflect urgent warnings from scientists that greenhouse gas emissions need to fall sharply, and soon, in order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

"The planet is on fire and our window of escape is getting harder and harder to reach the longer we fail to act," Mr Meyer said.

Among the countries pushing back against new measures to help poor countries and set new emissions targets was the United States

"I've just heard the comments of many others here today on the need to include an expansive additional language on gaps and needs," said Kimberly Carnahan, a State Department official representing the United States at the talks.

"We don't support such language and we would not think that it would lead to the balance of this text, but rather take us quite far in the other direction," she said.

Updated: December 14, 2019 09:35 PM

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