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UN Climate Conference in Madrid Fails to Set Rules for Carbon Trading Market   

The twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-25) was supposed to wrap up one issue remaining from last year’s COP-24 on implementing the Paris climate treaty—setting up the rules for an international greenhouse gas emissions trading market. Negotiators at COP-25 in Madrid continued meeting for two days beyond the scheduled closing session on December 3rd, but still couldn’t agree.

Zack Colman and Kalina Oroschakoff summed up the outcome in Politico: “The COP25 climate talks failed to reach their main goal on Sunday, but they didn’t blow up the global climate negotiating process. That’s a pretty low bar and not nearly enough for the growing number of people increasingly worried about the threat of global warming.”

That’s the bright side. Even brighter is the fact that the divide between wealthy developed nations and poorer developing nations over who is going to pay for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is still as deep as ever. Again quoting from Politico’s wrap-up story, which was reprinted in the South China Morning Post: “Finance was a major sticking point – bubbling under the surface over the past two weeks and breaking out in full force during the final plenary session. Developing and emerging countries complained that the focus on cutting emissions was undermining their call to boost funding to adapt to climate change and deal with the destruction of climate-related shocks.”

COP-26 is scheduled for late next year in Glasgow, Scotland. The 195 nations that have ratified the Paris treaty are supposed to come to Glasgow with their proposed second round of Nationally Determined Commitments to reduce emissions. The commitments are supposed to be more ambitious than the NDCs made when the treaty was adopted in 2015 at COP-21 in Paris. United States withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty will become official on November 4th, 2020, just a few weeks before the start of COP-26.

Our friend, English journalist Rupert Darwall, attended the Madrid talks as a CEI NGO delegate. He filed his wrap-up report on Real Clear Energy.