Paris, Dec 26 (AFP/APP): The climate summit in Madrid earlier this month did not collapse — but by almost any measure it certainly failed.
Four years after the fragile UN process yielded the world’s first universal climate treaty with all nations pitching in, COP25 was billed as a mopping-up session to finish guidelines for carbon markets, thus completing the Paris Agreement rulebook.
Governments faced with a crescendo of deadly weather, dire alarms from science and weekly strikes by millions of young people were also expected to signal an enhanced willingness to tackle the climate crisis threatening to unravel civilisation as we know it.
The result? A deadlock and a dodge.
The 12-day talks extended two days into overtime but still punted the carbon market conundrum to next year’s COP26 in Glasgow.
A non-binding pledge, meanwhile, to revisit deeply inadequate national plans for slashing greenhouse gas emissions was apparently too big an ask.
The European Union was the only major emitter to step up with an ambitious mid-century target (“net zero”), and even then it was over the objection of Poland and without a crucial midway marker.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres labelled COP25 “disappointing”. Others were more blunt.
“The can-do spirit that birthed the Paris Agreement feels like a distant memory,” said Helen Mountford of Washington-based think tank World Resources Institute (WRI).
“The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit has responded with a whisper,” noted Chema Vera, executive director of Oxfam International.
So what went wrong?
At least five factors contributed to the Madrid meltdown.