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U.N. Climate Talks End with Few of the Commitments Needed to Avert Catastrophe

HeadlineDec 16, 2019

In Madrid, Spain, the COP25 United Nations climate summit ended in failure Sunday, after negotiators failed to agree to a deal that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels — a key goal of the Paris Agreement. Scores of civil society groups condemned governments in the European Union, Australia, Canada and the U.S. for blocking progress at the talks. Alden Meyer, strategy chief at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “Never have I seen the almost total disconnect we’ve seen here at COP25 in Madrid between what the science requires and what the climate negotiations are delivering in terms of meaningful action.” Ian Fry, the climate negotiator for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu — whose existence is threatened by rising sea levels — called out the United States for watering down the final document even though President Trump is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.

Ian Fry: “This is an absolute tragedy and a travesty on those affected by the impacts of climate change. There are millions of people all around the world who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Denying this fact could be interpreted by some to be a crime against humanity. Thank you.”

Environmentalists and indigenous leaders blasted the United Nations for marginalizing civil society groups over two weeks of negotiations, while welcoming polluters at the climate summit. This is Kera Sherwood-O’Regan, a Maori representative from the Indigenous Peoples Organizations at the COP.

Kera Sherwood-O’Regan: “When you silence us, you deny yourselves learning from our ways, and you continue to sideline those who have real solutions for all communities. We are experts on climate. We are the kaitiaki, the stewards of nature. We know the legitimacy of our voices, and it’s about time that you recognized it, too. Hear our stories. Learn our histories. Stop taking up space with your false solutions and get out of our way.”

We’ll have more on the failures of the COP25 climate summit later in the broadcast.

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