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UN climate talks end with no agreements on carbon markets

CLIMATE talks at the UN ended in disagreement today, with no decisions made on global carbon markets. 

After two weeks of negotiations in Madrid over tackling global warming, delegates from almost 200 nations passed declarations calling for greater ambition in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and helping poorer countries suffering the effects of climate change. 

But despite holding the longest climate talk in its history, the issue of carbon markets was left for next year’s meeting in Glasgow after last-minute disagreements on the topic. 

Setting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, the markets allow countries or companies to trade emissions permits that can be steadily reduced, encouraging the uptake of low-emission technologies.

The 2015 Paris Agreement sets a target of avoiding temperature increase of more than 1.5°C by the end of the century.

The rate of temperature increase is currently 3 to 4°C, which could have dramatic consequences for nations the world over.

Delegates also agreed to designate funds for the most vulnerable countries to compensate them for the effects of extreme weather events, one of the most pressing issues for small island states and other developing nations.

But environmental groups and activists accused the world’s richer countries of showing little commitment to seriously tackling climate change.

Chile chaired the talks, which had to be moved to Madrid amid anti-government protests in the Latin American country.

Activists criticised the Chilean government of President Santiago Pinera for holding on to coal-fired power plants until 2040.

Extinction Rebellion said that “just like rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic,” meetings “fiddling” with carbon accounting were “not commensurate to the planetary emergency we face.”

The group added: “Those travelling first class are still enjoying the party too much to hear the cries of those already drowning in the decks below.”

Helen Mountford from World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, said the talks “reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the streets.”

The talks have been accompanied at times by angry protests from indigenous and environmental groups, both inside and outside the venue. 

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