Negotiations at the COP25 climate change conference in Spain have ground to a standstill. PHOTO: Brenda Masilela/African News Agency (ANA)

Madrid - Negotiations at the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid have reached a standstill and pressure is building as the 2020 deadline looms to reduce carbon emissions.

Some delegates accused the United States, Australia and Saudi Arabia, some of the world's major air polluters of actively pushing back on finalising the Paris Agreement on mitagating greenhouse-gas emissions.

They said developing countries were growing increasingly angry at what they have called concerted attempts by high-emitting countries to block progress in Madrid.

The aim of the agreement, which would come into effect next year, is to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,.

"The obfuscating and delaying tactics of the US in particular are designed to ensure we get nothing,” said Alpha Oumar Kaloga, a diplomat from Guinea.

"Other rich countries in the EU, Norway, New Zealand, Australia and Canada must stand apart from the US. It is not acceptable to hide behind this climate criminal."

Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has been outspoken about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, accused leaders of making constant attempts to find loopholes to avoid making substantial changes.

"The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR," she said.

To show her commitment in fighting global warming, the 16-year-old traveled by train from Lisbon to Spain. She refuses to fly because of the high levels of emissions emitted in air travel and instead uses boats, trains and electric cars.

Frustrations came to a boil on Wednesday, 10 days into the summit, when about 200 activists stormed the venue of the conference with calls for “climate justice.”

They were led by indigenous people and student activists with the Fridays for Future movement, sparked by Thunberg, who organized climate strikes around the world. 

Because of their participation in Wednesday’s protest, some observers have been told they may not be allowed into any meetings for the rest of the summit.

African News Agency (ANA)