Climate talks stalled as 'big emitters' refuse to take bold action



Negotiations at the UN Global Climate Change Summit have run into overtime on the last day and appear to be crawling towards a weak deal.

While talks over establishing an international carbon market are facing a difficult time, developing countries are skeptical of compensation for loss and damages suffered by extreme weather events.

Also, major greenhouse gas emitters have refused to cut down on emissions further. Negotiators are trying to make last-ditch efforts to convince Australia, the U.S., Canada, Russia, India, China, and Brazil to enhance their nationally determined contribution (NDC) to reduce emissions.

"We are appalled at the state of negotiations. At this stage, we are being cornered. We fear to have to concede on too many issues that would damage the very integrity of the Paris Agreement," said Carlos Fuller, the lead negotiator of Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at a press conference.

Under the Paris Climate Agreement, global emissions need to be curtailed by 45 percent by 2030, ensuring carbon neutrality by 2050.

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, deputy leader of WWF's global climate, pointed out that at the present rate of emission, the global temperature would rise by three degrees Celsius instead of 1.5 degrees Celsius as agreed under the Paris accord.

"Worst enough, big emitters have not committed to reducing their emissions by 2030. They still have a chance to make changes in the negotiation text," she said at a press conference in Madrid.

In order to achieve the climate goals, delegates were expecting large emitters to revise their NDC during the climate talks underway in Madrid, Spain.

Despite big polluters' refusal, around 84 countries have pledged to enhance their NDC by 2020, the majority of which announced a long-term strategy to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Not much headway has been made for preparing a mechanism for the international carbon market under Article 6 of the Paris Climate accord.

"On carbon market, there is disagreement on designing a mechanism to avoid double counting of emissions and transfer of clean development mechanism credit to the new system," said Prajwal Baral, an international expert on sustainable finance and clean technology.

Meanwhile, in an unprecedented turn of events, Costa Rica's environment and energy minister Carlos Manuel Rodríguez lashed out on Australia, Brazil, and the U.S. for stalling the negotiations on carbon markets.

The two-week negotiation was scheduled to end on December 13. But the talks are likely to continue over the weekend.

(Cover: Senior delegates at Madrid during climate change talks. /UNFCCC Photo)