Choose hope or cli­mate sur­ren­der: UN chief

The Asian Age - - Front Page -

Madrid, Dec. 2: The United Na­tions opened a twoweek cli­mate sum­mit in Madrid on Mon­day, where world lead­ers face grow­ing pres­sure to prove they can muster the po­lit­i­cal will to avert the most cat­a­strophic im­pacts of global warm­ing.

So far the world’s ef­forts to stop cli­mate change have been “ut­terly in­ad­e­quate” and there is a dan­ger that global warm­ing could pass the “point of no re­turn”, United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-General An­to­nio Guter­res said be­fore the start of the in­ter­na­tional cli­mate con­fer­ence

We can choose hope or path of sur­ren­der, where we have sleep­walked past the point of no re­turn, jeop­ar­dis­ing the health and safety of ev­ery­one on this planet. — Ano­to­nio Guter­res

in Spain.

Ad­dress­ing the open­ing ple­nary of con­fer­ence, he said, that hu­man­ity must choose be­tween hope and sur­ren­der.

“One is the path of sur­ren­der, where we have sleep­walked past the point of no re­turn, jeop­ar­dis­ing the health and safety of ev­ery­one on this planet.

Do we re­ally want to be re­mem­bered as the gen­er­a­tion that buried its head in the sand, that fid­dled while the planet burned?” he said.

The sum­mit be­gan against a back­drop of in­creas­ingly vis­i­ble im­pacts from ris­ing tem­per­a­tures in the past year, with wild­fires rag­ing from the Arc­tic and the Ama­zon to Aus­tralia, and trop­i­cal re­gions hit by dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes.

The con­fer­ence aims to lay the fi­nal pieces of ground work needed to sup­port the 2015 Paris Agree­ment to tackle cli­mate change, which en­ters a cru­cial im­ple­men­ta­tion phase next year.

COP25 talks in Madrid will fo­cus on fi­nal­is­ing rules for global car­bon mar­kets and set­ting up a fund to help coun­tries al­ready reel­ing from cli­mate change — en­hanced heat­waves, droughts,

■ Con­tin­ued from Page 1 floods and storms made worse by ris­ing seas.

Mr Guter­res noted the world has the sci­en­tific knowl­edge and the tech­ni­cal means to limit global warm­ing, but “what is lack­ing is po­lit­i­cal will”.

“The point of no re­turn is no longer over the hori­zon,” Mr Guter­res told re­porters in the Span­ish cap­i­tal. “It is in sight and hurtling to­ward us.”

He cited mount­ing sci­en­tific ev­i­dence for the im­pact that man­made emis­sions of green­house gases are al­ready hav­ing on the planet, in­clud­ing record tem­per­a­tures and melt­ing po­lar ice, but in­sisted his mes­sage was “one of hope, not of de­spair”.

“Our war against na­ture must stop and we know that is pos­si­ble,” he said.

Coun­tries agreed in Paris four years ago to limit global warm­ing to well be­low two de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit), ideally 1.5C (2.7F) by the end of the cen­tury com­pared with pre-in­dus­trial times.

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