UN meet­ing calls for more cli­mate ef­fort

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By HOU LIQIANG in Madrid [email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Par­tic­i­pants in this year’s United Na­tions cli­mate change con­fer­ence called for more am­bi­tious pledges in re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions as the con­fer­ence started on Mon­day in Madrid, Spain.

Carolina Sch­midt, Chile’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, said the con­fer­ence needs to lay the ground­work for mov­ing to­ward car­bon neu­tral economies while be­ing sen­si­tive to the poor­est and those most vul­ner­a­ble to ris­ing tem­per­a­tures.

“Those who don’t want to see it will be on the wrong side of his­tory,” said Sch­midt, also chair­woman of the cli­mate con­fer­ence.

Sch­midt called on gov­ern­ments to make more am­bi­tious prom­ises to re­duce car­bon emis­sions ahead of next year’s UN dead­line.

The sum­mit was moved to Spain af­ter Chile had to can­cel amid antigov­ern­ment protests, but it is still be­ing held un­der Chile’s pres­i­dency. Al­most 200 coun­tries will try to reach con­sen­sus on how to es­tab­lish an in­ter­na­tional car­bon trad­ing mar­ket and com­pen­sate poor coun­tries for losses from cli­mate change. The con­fer­ence will con­tinue through Dec 13.

“We have a com­mon chal­lenge but with dif­fer­en­ti­ated needs and ur­gen­cies, which we can only over­come if we work to­gether,” Sch­midt said.

Ad­dress­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony, UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res stressed that the world is at a crit­i­cal junc­ture in col­lec­tive ef­forts to limit dan­ger­ous global warm­ing.

“By the end of the com­ing decade, we will be on one of two paths. One is the path of sur­ren­der, where we have sleep­walked past the point of no re­turn, jeop­ar­diz­ing the health and safety of ev­ery­one on this planet. … The other op­tion is the path of hope. A path of re­solve, of sus­tain­able so­lu­tions.”

As out­lined by the UN’s In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change, the world would need to limit the av­er­age global tem­per­a­ture rise to 1.5 C, reach car­bon neu­tral­ity by 2050 and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by 45 per­cent from 2010 lev­els by 2030 to keep cli­mate change within man­age­able lim­its. Guter­res warned, how­ever, that up to now, the ef­forts of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to reach these tar­gets have been “ut­terly in­ad­e­quate”.

“What is still lack­ing is po­lit­i­cal will. Po­lit­i­cal will to put a price on car­bon. Po­lit­i­cal will to stop sub­si­dies on fos­sil fu­els. Po­lit­i­cal will to stop build­ing coal power plants from 2020 on­ward. Po­lit­i­cal will to shift tax­a­tion from in­come to car­bon — tax­ing pol­lu­tion in­stead of peo­ple,” he said.

Carolina Sch­midt

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