There is extensive global media coverage of the conclusion of COP25 in Madrid after the annual UN climate talks ran over by two days due to a record-breaking delay. The Financial Times says the talks “ended in stalemate…as countries squabbled over rules for a new global carbon trading market”. Reuters says that “a handful of major states resisted pressure on Sunday to ramp up efforts to combat global warming…angering smaller countries and a growing protest movement that is pushing for emergency action”. The newswire adds that “the conference, in its concluding draft, endorsed only a declaration on the ‘urgent need’ to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and the temperature goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement – an outcome UN secretary general Antonio Guterres called disappointing”. In a separate article, Reuters reports on the “total disconnect” between the calls of climate protestors and the lack of action by leaders. Associated Press says the talks broke up with a “slim deal” and “compromise that sparked widespread disappointment, after major polluters resisted calls for ramping up efforts to keep global warming at bay and negotiators postponed debate about rules for international carbon markets for another year”. In analysis within the BBC News coverage, environment analyst Roger Harrabin writes that the outcome “heaps enormous pressure on UK prime minister Boris Johnson”, with the UK hosting next year’s COP26 in Glasgow, which will have to pick up the pieces left unfinished in Madrid. In a separate article for the Financial Times, environment correspondent Leslie Hook says that the talks “were haunted by the legacy of old carbon credits created under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol”. The Washington Post observes that “negotiators barely mustered enthusiasm for the compromise they had patched together, while raising grievances about the issues that remain unresolved”. Chloé Farand for Climate Home News writes that “the rift between a growing climate vanguard and a handful of countries obstructing progress meant countries failed to finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement”. She adds: “Invigorated by the US withdrawal and rising nationalism at home, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia, defended loopholes and opposed commitments to enhance climate action. Other big emitters such as China and India insisted on the delivery of finance and support promised by rich countries before 2020 as a precondition to any discussion on enhancing their current targets.” The New York Times says COP25 provided “what was widely denounced as one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations”. It adds: “Because the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it was the last chance, at least for some time, for American delegates to sit at the negotiating table at the annual talks – and perhaps a turning point in global climate negotiations, given the influence that Washington has long wielded, for better or worse, in the discussions. The Trump administration used the meeting to push back on a range of proposals, including a mechanism to compensate developing countries for losses that were the result of more intense storms, droughts, rising seas and other effects of global warming.” The Irish Times joins many publications in highlighting the reaction of NGOs: “Many participants expressed outrage at the unwillingness of major polluters to show ambition commensurate with the gravity of the climate crisis following a year of record temperatures, wildfires, cyclones, droughts and extreme floods.” It quotes Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, who says: “What we have here in Madrid is a betrayal of people across the world.” Several publications focus on Australia’s role at the talks. The Guardian says that “Australia was accused of ‘cheating’ and named by other countries and conference observers as one of a handful of nations that thwarted a deal on the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement”. Climate Home News reports on the 31 countries, led by Costa Rica and including the UK and Germany, who broke from the discussions over the weekend to publish a “set of 11 benchmarks they said represented the ‘minimum’ standard to ensure integrity of the global carbon trading system due to come into effect next year”. [Since discussions on the Article 6 rules for carbon trading failed to reach consensus, no such mechanisms will come into effect for now.]
Meanwhile, in other COP25-related news, the Independent reports that Greta Thunberg, who addressed the leaders in Madrid, has said she now “needs a rest” following months of travelling and campaigning. The Sunday Times reports that “plans emerged” at COP25 meaning that “[UK] homeowners needing a mortgage on a draughty home, or a loan for a car using petrol or diesel, could be forced to pay higher interest rates as part of government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050”. DeSmog UK analysis reveals that “Gulf states have sent at least 42 current or former employees of the fossil fuel industry to the UN climate summit in Madrid as part of their official delegations”.
Finally, Carbon Brief has published an in-depth summary of the Madrid talks, which includes an interactive grid showing “who wanted what at COP25”.