The United Nations climate conference has hit a roadblock as delegates argue about how to compensate developing nations for the damage caused by rising temperatures.
While German negotiators expressed confidence in the talks in Katowice, Poland, four major environmental campaign groups issued an open letter saying the negotiations were hanging “in the balance” and calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene.
Despite two weeks of intensive debate, delegates from 196 countries have so far failed to hash out a rule book for implementing and financing the 2015 Paris climate agreement. That goal was supposed to have been achieved by Friday.
The conference has now been extended for at least one more day in the hope of striking a global accord.
Three years ago it was agreed that global warming should be kept to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and preferably to less than 1.5 degrees, but countries were to put forward their own plans to cut emissions.
Scientists say the measures agreed so far fall desperately short of what is needed.
Delegates have clashed over financing, with poorer countries most affected by climate change demanding recognition of the damage that it causes and long-term financial support.
There is also a dispute over whether to issue a firmer commitment to the prevention of warming by more than 1.5 degrees.
A report from the Global Carbon Project revealed last week that greenhouse-gas emissions in 2018 were projected to rise by at least 2 per cent.
This was the latest of several reports, the most notable being the UN IPCC’s latest report, which showed that it was unlikely that the world would be able to prevent global warming from stopping at the 1.5-degree mark.
Top climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, lamented that not enough was being done to prevent climate change.
“Hardly any state is doing enough,” he said. “We’re driving this planet into the ground.”