UN to world leaders: to curb global warming, you must do more | Scientific news


By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP science writer

Pressure continues to build on increasingly anxious world leaders to step up efforts to tackle climate change, and officials are signaling slight but vague signs of encouragement from ongoing talks at the United Nations.

For the second time in four days, this time from UN headquarters in New York, leaders on Monday heard calls to further reduce heat-trapping gas emissions and give poorer countries more money. to develop cleaner energy and adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change.

In a private session lasting more than two hours, some 40 world leaders made “encouraging statements” on the financial front, but “there is still a long way to go” in reducing emissions, told the press the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. after. He gave no details.

“We need decisive action now to avert a climate catastrophe and for that we need solidarity,” Guterres said at a post-session press conference on Monday, he told world leaders. “There is a high risk of failure” in huge climate talks six weeks from now.

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Earlier, in a weekend interview with The Associated Press, he called himself “not desperate, but I am extremely worried.”

US President Joe Biden, who hosted a similar closed-door climate meeting on Friday, will address the issue and the US obligations when he visits the United Nations on Tuesday, according to a senior administration official who s ‘is expressed on condition of anonymity to preview the President of the United States. Remarks. The upcoming climate talks in Scotland this fall are designed to be the next step after the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“We all agree that ‘something must be done’,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told leaders, according to a statement released by his office. “Yet I admit that I am increasingly frustrated that ‘something’ that many of you have committed to is nowhere near enough. It is the world’s largest economies that cause the problem, while the smaller ones suffer the worst consequences. “

Johnson said leaders should “rid the world of coal power and internal combustion engines” and stop deforestation, while rich countries must meet their pledge to spend $ 100 billion a year to help countries the poorest to cope with climate change.

“It is the developing world that bears the brunt of catastrophic climate change,” Johnson said at a press conference on Monday. “We are the guys who created the problem. … I understand the feelings of injustice in the developing world and the passionate appeals we have just heard from Costa Rica, the Maldives and other countries.

If all the planned coal plants are built, Gutteres said, “the Paris targets would go up in smoke.”

This week’s focus on climate change comes at the end of another summer of extreme weather-related disasters, including devastating wildfires in the western United States, deadly flooding in the United States , in China and Europe, a drumbeat of deadly tropical cyclones around the world and unprecedented heat waves everywhere.

Achieving some success in emission reduction pledges or financial aid during the week of UN sessions would ease the way for a deal in Glasgow, just as the first pollution reduction announcements did in 2015, especially those from China and the United States, according to experts. noted. Now these two nations are essential again. But, said Guterres, their relationship is “totally dysfunctional.”

Nigel Purvis, former US State Department climate negotiator and CEO of private company Climate Advisers, said political forces heading to Glasgow do not appear as optimistic as they were four months ago after a virtual climate summit in Biden.

“The Glasgow meeting is not shaping up to be as well prepared politically as the Paris conference in 2015,” Purvis said. And Pete Ogden, vice president of the United Nations Energy and Climate Foundation, cited “a worrying distrust among nations at a time when greater solidarity is needed.”

As world leaders gather, activists, other government leaders and business representatives gather in New York City for Climate Week, a giant cheerleader for the action that coincides with the UN high-level meeting. And throughout the week, the pressure is on the rich countries, the G-20, to do more.

“It is true that the G-20 countries bear most of the responsibility for carbon emissions. And in this regard, of course, it is absolutely crucial that we see them accelerate their actions in a very significant way, ”said the head of the United Nations climate conference, Patricia Espinosa on Friday, as her agency announced that the Broadcasts pledges for the Scotland conference were well below targets. Parisian goals.

Boasting Europe’s green stimulus packages, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Climate Week opening crowd that rich countries must provide financial aid “to help countries developing not to fall into the trap of the fossil fuel economy but to jump “into an economy based on renewable energy.

The most stringent seeks to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. This translates to around 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from now on due to the warming that has already occurred.

A UN report released on Friday showed that current commitments to reduce carbon emissions put the world on track for 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) warming since the pre-industrial era. It exceeds even Paris’ weakest target of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

“It’s catastrophic,” Guterres said in the interview. “The world couldn’t live with a 2.7 degree temperature rise. “

The overall goal is to have “net zero” carbon emissions by the middle of the 21st century. It refers to a time when global economies are releasing the same amount of carbon dioxide into the air that plants and oceans remove, without thereby contributing to global warming.

Guterres is pushing for rich countries to meet their long-standing commitments of $ 100 billion a year in climate assistance to poor countries, at least half of which will help them cope with the impacts of global warming. So far, the world is running out of around $ 75 billion by 2025, according to a new Oxfam study. Funding to deal with the impacts of climate change fell by 25% last year for small island states, “the most vulnerable of the vulnerable,” he said.

Under the Paris agreement, every five years, the nations of the world must offer even stricter emission cuts and more funding for the poorest nations in order to develop cleaner energy systems and to develop their own energy systems. adapt to climate change.

As leaders gather for UN meetings, activists, business leaders and lower-level government officials will be part of the Climate Week series of events. The planners include big companies announcing billions of dollars in climate change commitments, many speeches from big names like Bill Gates on climate solutions, and even the seven late-night US talk show hosts. evening focusing on climate change Wednesday evening.

The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Aamer Madhani in Washington and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report. Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at http://twitter.com/borenbears and read more of AP’s climate coverage at http://www.apnews.com/Climate

Copyright 2021 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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