Monday 16 December 2019
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The News - 13 days ago

Choose hope or climate surrender, says UN chief

MADRID: Confronted with a climate crisis threatening civilisation itself, humanity must choose between hope and surrender, UN chief Antonio Guterres told the opening plenary of a UN climate conference Monday. One is the path of surrender, where we have sleepwalked past the point of no return, jeopardising the health and safety of everyone on this planet, Guterres said. Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand, that fiddled while the planet burned? In a separate forum moments earlier, US Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi told the COP25 conference that the world could still count on the United States despite President Donald Trump s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. States and cities home to two-thirds of the US population are committed to the targets set by the 2015 agreement, as are all the Democratic candidates for president, according the US research groups. We re here to say to all of you, on behalf of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States, we re still in it, we re still in it, Pelosi said to applause at a forum of heads of state from climate-vulnerable nations. Leading the 15-strong Congressional delegation, Pelosi came to Madrid even as her colleagues in the House consider articles of impeachment against Trump.Trump has dismissed global warming as a hoax, and dismantled many of the climate and environmental protection policies set in place by his predecessor Barack Obama. Last month Trump gave formal notice of the US withdrawal from the 196-nation Paris climate treaty, which calls for capping global warming at well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5C if possible.In his impassioned appeal, Guterres cited new findings from the World Meterological Organisation (WMO) confirming that the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. Concentration of planet-warming CO2 in the atmosphere has also reached levels not seen in three to five million years, the WMO will report this week. The last time there was a comparable concentration, Guterres said, the temperature was two to three degrees Celsius warmer, and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres (32 to 66 feet) higher than today. A major UN science report last year reset the Paris accord s threshold for a climate-safe world from 2C to 1.5C, concluding that the global economy must be carbon neutral by 2050 to stay under that threshold.


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