The devastating impact of global warming that threatens humanity is a pushback from Nature under assault, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Sunday ahead of a key climate conference.
The United States will send a diplomatic team but no senior members of Trump’s administration the conference to ‘protects US interests, according to a statement.
‘For many decades the human species has been at war with the planet, and now the planet is fighting back,’ he said, decrying the ‘utterly inadequate’ efforts of the world’s major economies to curb carbon pollution.
‘We must stop our war against nature, and science tells us we can do it.’
Guterres flagged a UN report to be released in a few days confirming the last five years are the warmest on record, with 2019 likely to be the second hottest ever.
‘Climate-related disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive,’ he said on the eve of the 196-nation COP25 climate change talks in Madrid.
Every year, air pollution associated with climate change kills seven million people, he noted, adding that human health and food security are at risk.
The UN chief’s comments were clearly aimed at the handful of countries responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions, though he did not call them out by name.
President Donald Trump has set in motion the process that would see the United States withdraw from the Paris deal by the end of the year, and other major emitters — China, India, Russia and Brazil — have given scant indication that they will deepen their commitments.
Guterres singled out the European Union as playing a constructive role, saying the 28-nation bloc could help lead the way towards a net-zero global economy by 2050.
The Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at under two degrees Celsius, and 1.5C if feasible.
But current national pledges — if carried out — would see global temperatures rise by at least 3C, a recipe for human misery, according to scientists.
Despite growing public pressure, the 12-day negotiating session is likely to remain technical in nature, focused on finalising the ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement, which becomes operation at the end of next year.
Climate change is no longer a long-term problem, Guterres said.
‘We are confronted now with a global climate crisis and the point of no return is no longer over the horizon — it is in sight and hurtling towards us.’
In an effort to raise the US profile in Madrid, House speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a 15-member congressional delegation to ‘reaffirm the commitment of the American people to combating the climate crisis.’
‘The United States will continue to participate in ongoing climate change negotiations and meetings —such as COP25 —to ensure a level playing field that protects US interests,’ the US State Department said Saturday.
The US, at Trump’s direction, is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, which set a goal of limiting global temperature rises to well within two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.
Spain stepped in to host the COP25 meeting, which seeks to boost commitments to fight climate change, after Chile pulled out due to civil unrest.
Pelosi, calling climate change ‘the existential threat of our time,’ announced a delegation of Democrats drawn from both the House and the Senate, with no members of Trump’s Republican party.
The president has cast the Paris climate accord as elitist and unfair to the US, saying when announcing his decision to withdraw that he was ‘elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.’
But scientists say the accord is vital to check the worst damage from global warming, such as increasing droughts, rising floods and intensifying storms.
The United States is the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, and is the only country to pull out of the Paris agreement.
The final US withdrawal from the landmark accord is scheduled for November 4, 2020, a day after the next presidential election.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net