Biggest polluters “held climate talks hostage”

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Campaigners blast "complete lack of urgency” over global warming. 

16th December 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

The world’s biggest polluters have been accused of holding UN climate talks hostage by their refusal to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Nations including the United States, China, India, Japan, Brazil and Saudi Arabia were singled out by WWF International after the COP25 summit in Madrid ended without an agreement on carbon markets.

Seen as a key lever in reducing the impact of climate change, any agreement over how a global carbon market should be regulated will now have to wait until next year’s meeting in Glasgow.

WWF said the big polluters were shirking their responsibilities to tackle climate change, adding that, with the exception of the EU, the talks showed a “complete lack of urgency to act”.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF, said: “These climate talks have been witness to the most staggering failure of leadership by some countries. Too many are still hitting the snooze button in the face of our planet’s loudest alarm. 

“All eyes will now be on COP26 in Glasgow to restore much needed confidence in this process and deliver the action necessary to restore a safe climate and safeguard humanity’s future.

“The stakes are so high and public concern irrefutable. Boris Johnson must make COP26 count and the UK must lead the world out of this climate emergency.”

Despite demands for action from vulnerable countries, civil society, and millions of young people around the world demanding immediate climate action, the WWF said large polluters resisted all efforts to keep global warming below 1.5°C. 

Although the talks ended with delegates promising to have new plans on the table by the time of the Glasgow summit, larger polluters continued to oppose a push for more ambitious targets.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres admitted his disappointment as the summit came to an end, saying: "The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

Sir David King, representing the UK Government at the summit, added: “If the United States is not backing an agreement that is meaningful it is extraordinarily difficult for the rest of the world to come to an agreement.

“And I'm afraid as long as we have Trump in the United States with President Bolsonaro in Brazil it is extraordinarily difficult to get all of those countries to agree."