Saturday 29 February, 2020

Crunch time at climate talks amid discord on carbon markets

Officials from almost 200 countries are preparing for a last push at an annual UN summit to finalize rules for the Paris climate accord amid signs that resolving the issue of international carbon markets may be postponed for another year.

Negotiators pored over revised drafts Friday, hours before the UN talks in Madrid were officially meant to end.

Germany's environment minister said a decision Thursday by European Union leaders in Brussels to make the bloc " climate neutral" by 2050 would provide a boost to negotiations in the Spanish capital during the final hours.

"With this, we can convince other major economies to join in and show how they want to reduce carbon emissions," German minister Svenja Schulze told The Associated Press.

EU countries and others have made clear that they would prefer not to reach a deal on international carbon markets than to approve one that could undermine efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental groups planned to stage protests outside the climate summit venue in Madrid later Friday.

Scientists say big cuts to global emissions have to start next year if the 2015 Paris agreement's goal of keeping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) but ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) by the end of the century is to be achieved. 

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