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With Time Ticking Down, Hope Is Waning for a Climate Deal

After two mostly unsuccessful meetings of the world’s largest economies, only three months remain to reach agreement on key issues.

Palazzo Reale during the first day of the G20 summit in Naples on July 22.

Palazzo Reale during the first day of the G20 summit in Naples on July 22.

Photographer: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

When India failed to show up at climate talks in London last week, the meeting’s British hosts took it as a snub. It was also a stark reminder of how hard it’s going to be for diplomats to pull the global climate back from the brink of disaster, with less than three months to go before the next round of high-stakes negotiations.

The climate meeting in London wasn’t the only recent example of underlying problems. Just two days earlier, an all-night meeting of Group of 20 ministers in Naples, Italy, had failed to produce an agreement on phasing out coal power, the most polluting source of energy. India—the world’s third-largest emitter, which depends heavily on coal—had been a key holdout.