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This year’s annual UN climate conference, COP25 in Madrid, became the longest on record when it concluded after lunch on Sunday, following more than two weeks of fraught negotiations. It had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday.

Nearly 27,000 delegates arrived in the Spanish capital in early December aiming to finalize the “rulebook” of the Paris Agreement – the operating manual needed when it takes effect in 2020 – by settling on rules for carbon markets and other forms of international cooperation under “Article 6” of the deal.

They also hoped to send a message of intent, signaling to the wider world that the UN climate process remains relevant – and that it recognises the yawning gap between the current progress and global goals to limit warming.