UN chief 'very worried' over possible COP26 failure

Agence France-Presse
UN chief 'very worried' over possible COP26 failure
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a High-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action: "Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent" as part of the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate at the United Nations Headquarters on September 22, 2021 in New York.

PARIS, France — UN chief Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the current climate situation was "a one-way ticket for disaster" and stressed the need to "avoid a failure" at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, struck at the COP21 summit, called for capping global warming at well below 2C above the pre-industrial level, and ideally closer to 1.5C. 

But current UN estimates indicate a "catastrophic" warming of 2.7C is on the cards.

Guterres said the present indications "show a pathway of at least 2,7C heating above pre industrial levels, and that’s obviously a one way ticket for disaster."

"The carbon pollution of a handful of countries has brought humanity to its knees and they bear the greatest responsability," he told an online press conference with members of the Covering Climate Now international project.

"I hope we are still on time to avoid a failure in Glasgow, but time is running short, and things are getting more difficult and that is why I’m very very worried. I’m afraid things might get wrong," he said.

"The G20 leaders will meet in Rome and they know their economies are responsible for four-fifth of planet carbon pollution," Guterres said.

"If they do not stand up ... we are headed for terrible human sufferings," he added.

He said: "China and the United States must do more than what they have announced so far." 

Held between October 31 and November 12, the Glasgow gathering is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 2, 2021 - 9:08am

At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, Earth could warm by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as early as 2030, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change says in a landmark report.

"Global warming is likely to reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate," the report concluded with "high confidence."

Earth's surface has warmed one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)—enough to lift oceans and unleash a crescendo of deadly storms, floods and droughts—and is on track toward an unliveable 3C or 4C rise.

November 2, 2021 - 9:08am

Climate change caused overwhelmingly by human activity is the primary source of the unprecedented forest fires regularly ravaging the western United States, according to a study published Monday.

Fires destroyed an average of 13,500 square kilometers (5,200 square miles) per year in the American west between 2001 and 2018 — twice as much as between 1984-2000.

"It's happened so much faster than we previously anticipated," Rong Fu, who led the study published by the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), told the Los Angeles Times. — AFP

October 25, 2021 - 10:07am

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday declares the fight against climate change a "national security" priority and pledged to "facilitate" investments in green energy.

Days before the COP26 global climate summit in the British city of Glasgow — which Bennett is due to attend — the Israeli government announced the creation of "working groups" on climate change.

"The climate crisis is one of the major issues on the world agenda," Bennett says, calling it a "new National Security Interest" of Israel.

"It concerns the lives of all of us, and also the lives of our children and grandchildren," he adds. "We are obligated to deal with it in Israel; it is at the core of our being." — AFP

October 22, 2021 - 7:59am

US intelligence services said Thursday for the first time that climate change poses wide-ranging threats to the United States' national security and stability around the world.

More extreme weather "will increasingly exacerbate a number of risks to US national security interests, from physical impacts that could cascade into security challenges, to how countries respond to the climate challenge," the White House said in a summary of the intelligence reports.

The prediction was made in the first official assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, which oversees the sprawling US intelligence apparatus. — AFP

October 14, 2021 - 3:02pm

Britain's Prince William on Thursday praises his father Charles for being "well ahead of the curve" on climate change, as the pair ramped up pressure ahead of the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow.

"He's had a really rough ride on that, and I think you know he's been proven to being well ahead of the curve, well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers," William tells the BBC.

"But it shouldn't be that there's a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more," he adds. — AFP

October 14, 2021 - 8:07am

The US Treasury announces Wednesday it will study how climate change is affecting communities and households in the United States.

The department's Financial Literacy and Education Commission will look into "how households, communities, and the smallest businesses experience financial resilience in the face of climate change and climate transition," Treasury says in a statement.

It will also focus on "how to map climate-related financial risks, and identify which groups and regions will be most impacted," and also study the best ways to deal with the threats, with an emphasis "on historically disadvantaged people and regions." — AFP

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