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ments to see whether there is a com­mon sense of ur­gency about cli­mate con­trol. I made it clear that, to achieve the vi­sion of the Paris Agree­ment, there would need to be the ap­pro­pri­ate quan­ti­fied tar­gets and the nec­es­sary de­gree of ac­count­abil­ity of coun­tries to each other. I also re­minded my au­di­ence of the need to set the bar higher and go faster than what is cur­rently en­vis­aged,” he said adding how coun­tries should be aware of the as­sess­ment by the UN En­vi­ron­ment (the lead­ing global en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­ity) that said the ex­ist­ing pro­jec­tions of green­house gas re­duc­tions would only take the world a third of the way to the tem­per­a­ture tar­gets.

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He high­lighted that what will make it es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult in the process of ne­go­ti­at­ing tar­gets, in that ev­ery coun­try is unique from a to­po­graph­i­cal, cli­matic and de­vel­op­men­tal per­spec­tive and has an obli­ga­tion to its peo­ple to se­cure the best pos­si­ble deal.

He noted that where there was dis­agree­ment there was no sin­gle en­tity that could pre­scribe au­thor­i­ta­tively and un­equiv­o­cally what each coun­try must do.

“That makes for a very dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­at­ing process. It is likely that the coun­tries with the big car­bon foot­print will want to phase out the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els in their own time and, mean­while, hide be­hind achieve­ments in elec­tric car and re­new­able en­ergy de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Nev­er­the­less, he noted that some coun­tries, al­ready with heav­ily pol­luted air might have to bow to the pres­sure of an un­healthy and un­happy pop­u­la­tion and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions for that rea­son. China has just moth­balled plans for 150 new coal fired plants.

He stated that if one had to take a guess, one could sug­gest that the real po­tency of the COP meet­ings was the im­plicit pres­sure they place on coun­tries to ac­cel­er­ate their em­brac­ing of new tech­nol­ogy such as re­new­able en­ergy and re­plac­ing petrol with elec­tric­ity in cars. He warned that the planet's av­er­age sur­face tem­per­a­ture hav­ing risen by 1°C over the past 140 years could see ac­cel­er­a­tion re­sult­ing in the planet warm­ing up by be­tween two and five de­grees by the end of the cen­tury.

“Most of the warm­ing oc­curred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warm­est years on record oc­cur­ring since 2001. The hottest year on r e c or d was 2016. Unchecked, the planet will warm up by be­tween two and five de­grees Cel­sius by the end of this cen­tury. That is ex­tremely wor­ry­ing and the rate of global warm­ing sim­ply can­not be al­lowed to con­tinue. Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions de­pend on us to take the nec­es­sary ac­tion to slow the rate of in­crease, then stop it al­to­gether,” he said.

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