Nearly 200 countries have signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and mitigate a rise in sea levels. It is the world’s response to a potential humanitarian catastrophe that would threaten peace and stability. You would not know it from the lack of urgency and unity at the latest United Nations climate talks that have just ended in Madrid. After two weeks of negotiations they broke up without agreement on key steps on the way forward under the Paris accord – new rules for a carbon trading market and trading emissions credits. Instead, delegates pinned their hopes on reaching a final deal at the climate summit in Glasgow next November. In the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the world has lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis . However delegates did agree on stronger language for countries to boost their climate pledges under a Paris Agreement deadline next year. That was a crucial issue for an alliance of European, Latin American, vulnerable and island nations, in the face of resistance from emerging economies such as India, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, plus the United States and Australia. Climate talks in Madrid close with no agreement on carbon markets It is the second year in a row that countries have failed to agree on carbon market rules. Negotiations followed a familiar pattern, with emerging and developed economies disputing responsibility for cutting emissions, developing countries accusing rich countries of not offering enough financial support, and nations most vulnerable to climate change being caught in the middle. It remains uncertain whether a breakthrough will come next year. After all, the agreement depends on consensus between countries with widely divergent priorities and many details remain to be settled between them in future summits like the one that has just flopped. Moreover the US is in the process of withdrawing from the agreement under the sceptical leadership of President Donald Trump, which does nothing for multilateral consensus. 6 takeaways from the COP25 climate talks A lot now depends on whether China, wrestling with structural reform amid downward pressure on economic growth, can be convinced to go along with more ambitious climate plans next year. Under the compromise reached in Madrid, all countries will need to put new climate pledges on the table ahead of the conference in November. Divisive issues, including carbon markets, were delayed until the gathering in Scotland, now to be hosted by the new British government led by Boris Johnson. Brexit is therefore not the only issue that will define his first year in office.