A woman looks at a World globe at the COP25 climate talks congress in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Officials from almost 200 countries are scrambling to reach an agreement at a United Nations climate meeting amid growing concerns that key issues may be postponed for another year. (AP Photo/Paul White)

UN climate talks in limbo as rifts among countries remain

December 14, 2019 - 5:02 am

MADRID (AP) — Countries remained deadlocked Saturday in talks over combating climate change as U.N. talks dragged on beyond the official deadline with no end in sight.

Chile's environment minister, Carolina Schmidt, who is chairing the two-week talks in Madrid, urged officials from almost 200 countries to recognize the “overall balance” of the latest draft agreements hammered out overnight.

“We must show the outside world that we deliver,” she said.

Environmental activists staged protests inside and around the venue during the talks, as they have around the world in the past year, to demand leaders take bolder action against global warming.

Many nations and observers said the latest draft agreements risked backtracking on existing commitments made in the 2015 Paris climate accord and didn't reflect the urgent warnings from scientists that greenhouse gas emissions need to fall sharply, and soon.

“If this text is accepted, the low ambition coalition will have won the day,” said David Waskow of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank.

Among the issues at stake are aid for poor countries suffering the impacts of climate change and efforts to agree rules for international markets to trade carbon emissions vouchers.

Schmidt said that the latest drafts attempt to provide “a sensible and workable solution” on carbon markets.

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