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No breakthrough in ‘exhausting’ online climate discussions

BERLIN (AP) – No breakthroughs were made on key issues during the three weeks of international climate talks that concluded on Thursday, officials said, with plans for a select group of ministers to meet. meet next month in the hope of making progress before a UN summit in November.

The May 31-June 17 climate expert meeting held online was seen as a test of the new spirit of cooperation following President Joe Biden’s decision to bring the United States back to the deal of Paris on the climate.

While no formal decision was expected, participants attempted to tackle thorny issues, including aid to poor countries and the rules of international carbon markets, an issue that has firmly divided nations for years.

“I cannot say that there has really been a breakthrough in the consultations that have taken place here,” said Patricia Espinosa, United Nations chief climate officer.

“It is time we tried to get advice from ministers,” she added.

The chairman of this year’s climate summit in Glasgow, Britain’s Alok Sharma, said he had invited “a representative group of ministers” for talks at the end of July to define next steps.

Keeping alive the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) – was “absolutely vital for so many millions of people around the world who are facing the challenge of climate change head-on, ”he said. .

The world has already warmed by about 1.2 ° C (2.2 ° F) and scientists say there is not much time left to ensure the Paris target is met.

Climate activists have criticized rich countries for failing to keep their pledge to give developing countries $ 100 billion a year to fight global warming, a commitment Espinosa called “absolutely crucial” to the world. credibility of the current negotiations.

Under the principles of the Paris Agreement, countries voluntarily establish their own contributions to international climate finance and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This has resulted in a delicate diplomatic dance in which governments have largely avoided taking big steps without ensuring that their rivals follow suit.

Sharma said Britain aims to offer delegates who could not get vaccinated by November the opportunity to do so under a special program, although details of this have not yet been released. determined.

“My main goal is to ensure that we have a physical meeting that all delegates can safely attend,” he said.

The virtual meeting, which experienced many technical issues and required participants to share the burden of joining the meetings before dawn, afternoon or late at night – depending on their respective time zones – had been “exhausting. ”Said Espinosa.


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