Cli­mate of op­ti­mism ahead of talks

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD -

re­port, which gives a sci­en­tific as­sess­ment about how national ef­forts are af­fect­ing the green­house gas emis­sion trend.

The re­port’s re­lease ahead of a cru­cial cli­mate meet­ing next week in Bonn, Ger­many, aims to in­ject new mo­men­tum to the Paris ac­cord and even strengthen it in 2020.

Trump, how­ever, has vowed to pull out be­cause he in­sists it’s un­fair to the US.

UN of­fi­cials are cit­ing the role of com­pa­nies in the fight against cli­mate change.

“There is one ques­tion that I get more of­ten than any other ques­tion wher­ever I go on the planet and it is a very sim­ple one. It is: ‘What about Don­ald Trump?’” Sol­heim told a panel in Geneva by vid- eo­con­fer­ence from Nairobi.

“In all like­li­hood, the United States of Amer­ica will live up to its Paris com­mit­ment, not be­cause of the White House, but be­cause of the pri­vate sec­tor,” he said. “All the big Amer­i­can com­pa­nies are ded­i­cated to go in the green di­rec­tion.”

But UNEP said coun­tries and in­dus­tries still need to do more to meet tar­gets to cut green­house gas emis­sions that ex­perts say con­trib­ute to global warm­ing. The re­port crit­i­cizes coal-fired elec­tric­ity plants be­ing built in emerg­ing economies, and in­sists that in­vest­ment in re­new­able en­er­gies will pay for it­self — and even make money — over the long term.

“The Paris agree­ment boosted cli­mate ac­tion, but mo­men- tum is clearly fal­ter­ing,” said Edgar Gu­tier­rez-Espeleta, Costa Rica’s En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter, who heads the UN En­vi­ron­ment As­sem­bly. “We face a stark choice: up our am­bi­tion, or suf­fer the con­se­quences.”

The Paris ac­cord aims to cap global tem­per­a­ture in­creases to 2 C by the year 2100 com­pared to av­er­age world tem­per­a­tures at the start of the in­dus­trial era — and even hopes to limit the in­crease to 1.5 C.

UNEP says trends sug­gest that even if cur­rent national com­mit­ments are met, a tem­per­a­ture in­crease of 3 C by the end of the cen­tury is “very likely — mean­ing that gov­ern­ments need to de­liver much stronger pledges when they are re­vised in 2020”.

A new round of UN cli­mate talks known as COP 23 starts in Bonn, Ger­many, on Mon­day, when coun­tries will take stock of their achieve­ments and pre­pare more am­bi­tious goals.

On the pos­i­tive side, UNEP high­lighted “rapidly ex­pand­ing mit­i­ga­tion ac­tion” and says car­bon-diox­ide emis­sions have re­mained sta­ble since 2014, thanks partly to re­new­able en­ergy use in China and In­dia. It cau­tioned that other green­house gases like meth­ane con­tinue to rise, how­ever.

UNEP has trum­peted so­lar and wind en­ergy, ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and cars, and ef­forts to pre­serve forests. Sol­heim cited tests this week on the world’s first so­lar-pow­ered rail­road in Aus­tralia and the launch of a hy­dro­gen-run sub­way sys­tem in north­ern China.

“We are at the wa­ter­shed mo­ment: We have stopped the rise in CO2 (car­bon diox­ide) emis­sions — there is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve we can bring them down,” Sol­heim said. “The train is on the right track, but our duty is to speed it up.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.