Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

As Climate Talks Stall, UN Chief Presses World Leaders to Take Action

Climate
UN Secretary General António Guterres addressed the future of international cooperation at Westminster Central Hall in London on May 10, 2017. International Maritime Organization / CC BY 2.0

UN Secretary General António Guterres urged world leaders to pick up the pace on fighting climate change in a speech at the UN headquarters in New York Monday, The New York Times reported.

"If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change," Guterres said.


Guterres' speech came a day after climate talks concluded in Bangkok without producing a draft of rules that could be presented at the next round of UN climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland in December, which will be dedicated to the implementation of the Paris agreement, The Associated Press reported.

"We cannot allow Katowice to remind us of Copenhagen," Guterres said, referring to climate talks there that fell apart in 2009, BBC News reported.

The major disagreements at the Bangkok talks revolved around how developing countries would finance and report their Paris commitments.

Developed countries are supposed to provide funds to assist developing countries, but ActionAid International Climate Policy Manager Harjeet Singh told The Associated Press that countries like the U.S., Japan, Australia and the EU declined to say "how much money they are going to provide and how that is going to be counted."

Other delegates expressed frustration with the role of the U.S. in negotiations, saying the country undermined the process despite President Donald Trump's announcement that he would pull the U.S. from being impacted by the final agreement.

"The U.S. has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement but still negotiates as if it is a Party, weakening international cooperation by not contributing to finance and technology transfer to developing countries," Third World Network legal adviser Meena Raman told The Associated Press in an email.

Guterres did not refer to Trump by name in his remarks Monday, but called on global leaders generally to meet their Paris targets, The New York Times reported.

Few countries are close to meeting those targets, and the UN has found that existing targets would only get the world one-third of the way towards limiting warming "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

"The time has come for our leaders to show they care about the people whose fate they hold in their hands," Guterres said, according to The New York Times. "We need to rapidly shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels."

Guterres dismissed the idea that doing so was too expensive, saying that renewable energy was now competitive with oil and coal and that meeting the Paris goals would boost the economy overall, BBC News reported.

"For every dollar spent restoring degraded forests, as much as $30 can be recouped in economic benefits and poverty reduction," Guterres said, according to BBC News.

Guterres urged world leaders as well as city and business leaders to join him in September 2019 for a climate change forum, The New York Times reported.

The inclusion of city and industry is designed to put pressure on national governments, The New York Times surmised.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less