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Deadlocked UN climate talks go into overtime

2019-12-14 HKT 10:59
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  • Young activists gather to protest outside the climate talks in Madrid on Friday. Photo: AP
    Young activists gather to protest outside the climate talks in Madrid on Friday. Photo: AP
United Nations climate negotiations were deadlocked deep into overtime and through the night, with even the best-case outcome likely to fall well short of what science says is needed to avert a future ravaged by global warming.

The COP25 summit in Madrid arrives on the heels of climate-related disasters across the planet, including unprecedented cyclones, deadly droughts and record-setting heatwaves.

It began on December 2 and the talks were supposed to end on Friday evening, but – as is often the case at such summits – they were still under way early on Saturday, with new statements expected to be released in the coming hours.

Scientists have amassed a mountain of evidence pointing to even more dire impacts on the near horizon, while millions of youth activists are holding weekly strikes demanding government action.

Sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg led student marchers in Turin, Italy on Friday, and chastised world leaders for acting "as if there is no tomorrow".

Briefing journalists as talks sailed past their provisional deadline, host Chile's coordinator Andres Landerretche admitted "the eyes of the people are on us".

"We must show the world that we are capable of delivering the agreements that are needed to tackle the unprecedented challenge before us," he said.

As pressure inside and outside the talks mounted however, old splits between rich polluters and developing nations re-emerged over who should slash greenhouse gas emissions by how much, and how to pay the trillions needed to live in a climate-addled world.

Newer fissures, meanwhile, between poor, climate-vulnerable nations and emerging giants such as China and India – the world's biggest and fourth-biggest emitters – also blocked progress. (AFP)