In Brief

Climate change talks end ‘with a whisper’

Disappointment as delegates agree compromise deal at Madrid conference

The latest United Nations climate talks have ended in Madrid with a compromise deal and widespread disappointment over the outcome.

The BBC says that “exhausted delegates” reached agreement on the key question of increasing the global response to curbing carbon. The agreement will see new, improved carbon cutting plans on the table by the time of the Glasgow conference next year.

However, this was not enough for many. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

Laurence Tubiana from the European Climate Foundation, and an architect of the Paris agreement, described the outcome of the talks as “a far cry from what science tells us is needed”.

Discussions went at “snail’s pace”, The Guardian says, and had “low ambition”. This was a view shared by Oxfam International, whose interim executive director, Chema Vera, told CNN: “The world is screaming out for action but this summit responded with a whisper”.

May Boeve, executive director of climate campaign group 350.org, said the fossil fuel giants “got what they wanted - a weakened text that kicks most of the big issues down the road to COP26”.

Almost 200 countries met in Madrid for the talks, aimed at forging a new response to the climate crisis. The European Union and small island states pushed for more ambitious agreements but they were opposed by a range of larger nations including the US, Brazil, India and China.

Looking ahead, the BBC’s Roger Harrabin says the fact that next year’s climate conference will be held in Glasgow “heaps enormous pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson” because he could be “humiliated” if he tries to lead other nations while his own government is still failing to meet its own medium-term climate targets.

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