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Madrid talks did not result in agreement: UN climate chief

New Delhi

20-December-2019

Days after the conclusion of the longest climate change negotiations in Madrid, the UN climate chief has admitted that the talks did not result in an agreement.

The disagreement among the developed and developing nations was on guidelines for a much-needed carbon market -- an essential part of the toolkit to raise ambition that can harness the potential of the private sector and generate finance for adaptation.

Several days have passed since the closing of the UN Climate Change Conference or COP25, and it is important to conduct an honest and realistic assessment of what happened so that appropriate measures can be taken by the international community in guiding the next crucial steps in the multilateral climate process next year, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said on Thursday.

"We need to be clear that the conference did not result in agreement on the guidelines for a much-needed carbon market. Developed countries have yet to fully address the calls from developing countries for enhanced support in finance, technology and capacity building, without which they cannot green their economies and build adequate resilience to climate change," she said in a statement.

High-emitting countries did not send a clear enough signal that they are ready to improve their climate strategies and ramp up ambition through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) they will submit next year.

At the same time, she said, in the final decision texts, governments did express the need for more ambition by Parties and non-State actors alike, and they agreed to improve the ability of the most vulnerable to adapt to climate change.

Many decisions that emerged from the conference in Madrid at least acknowledge the role of climate finance, essential for concrete action, Espinosa said.

And decisions were taken in areas including technology, oceans and agriculture, gender and capacity building.

A large group of countries, regions, cities, businesses and investors signalled their intention to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, as part of the Climate Ambition Alliance led by Chile.

Also rallying under the Climate Ambition Alliance, 114 nations have meanwhile signalled their intention to submit an enhanced climate action plan next year.

The caveat here is that not enough major economies have signalled that they are ready to shift the needle on climate ambition through improved plans, the UN climate chief said.

"What we need now is to focus our undivided attention on the next steps to further strengthen the trust in the multilateral process. As we head towards the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, we must be united and work in a true spirit of inclusive multilateralism in order to realize the promises of the Paris Agreement," she added.

Negotiators told IANS that almost 200 countries failed to agree unanimously on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement rulebook concerning the carbon markets system as the lengthy negotiations concluded in Madrid on December 15, two days past the official deadline.

The developed world took the stand of not allowing the 'junk' carbon market, which allows buying and selling of carbon emissions, and emerged under the Kyoto Protocol adopted in December 1997 to continue in the exiting mechanism under the Paris Agreement that is coming into force from January 2021.

Several countries like India were demanding to carry forward the old carbon credits earned also by companies to meet new climate targets.

The carbon credit system allows countries to reduce their emission reduction targets by accumulating and trading in carbon credits in the international market.

As per rough estimates, nations hold close to 4 billion unsold certified emission reductions (CERs). India has a depository of 750 million and China has much more than India.

One CER equals to one tonne of carbon dioxide. The CERs help companies earn billions of dollars by trading them. Currently, there is market but no political platform.IANS