Cam­paign­ers tar­get coal at UN cli­mate sum­mit

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

KA­TOW­ICE(Poland): Cam­paign groups rep­re­sent­ing cit­i­zens from across the world de­manded on Tues­day that big en­ergy leaves coal in the ground as COP24 host Poland pushed for pro­tec­tions al­low­ing it to con­tinue burn­ing fos­sil fuel.

With na­tions locked in UN cli­mate talks aimed at head­ing off run­away global warm­ing, many parts of the world are al­ready deal­ing with the storms, floods, fires and droughts our heat­ing planet will suf­fer.

Man-made emis­sions have in­creased an­nu­ally since the land­mark 2015 Paris cli­mate ac­cord was struck and with political progress slow­ing, peo­ple who will bear the big­gest bur­den is­sued their clear­est plea to date: end fos­sil fu­els now.

“The ur­gency of the cli­mate cri­sis is very real on the ground be­cause our peo­ple are suf­fer­ing the dif­fer­ent im­pacts of ex­treme weather,” said Lidy Nacpil, co­co­or­di­na­tor of the Asia Peo­ples’ Move­ment on Debt and De­vel­op­ment. “Crops will be de­stroyed not just by flood­ing and rain but also by droughts. Yet this ur­gency is not re­flected in the ac­tions of gov­ern­ments,” she said.

The Peo­ple’s De­mands ini­tia­tive has been signed by nearly 300,000 peo­ple from over 120 na­tions. It calls on richer states -- who are re­spon­si­ble for most green­house gas emis­sions -- to hon­our their prom­ises to help fund at-risk coun­tries to adapt to cli­mate change, and de­vel­oped economies to be fully green by 2030. They also want a ban on frack­ing and an im­me­di­ate, world­wide mora­to­rium on new fos­sil fuel ex­plo­ration and ex­trac­tion.

The UN’s in­de­pen­dent panel of cli­mate ex­perts in Oc­to­ber is­sued its stark­est find­ings yet: emis­sions from fos­sil fu­els must be slashed by half within 12 years in or­der to hit the Paris goals of lim­ited tem­per­a­ture rises.

But most Western economies re­main heav­ily de­pen­dent on fos­sil fu­els. Poland, which gets roughly 80 per cent of its elec­tric­ity from coal, this week called for na­tions to weave mea­sures into the UN cli­mate frame­work that crit­ics fear would al­low it to keep pol­lut­ing for decades.

Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda used his ad­dress at the COP open­ing on Mon­day to say Poland’s de­pen­dence on coal “does not clash with cli­mate pro­tec­tion and progress achieved in this vein”. Poland and other fos­sil-fuel re­liant economies say they need a grad­ual and “just tran­si­tion” to­wards re­new­ables that pro­tects min­ers and na­tional en­ergy se­cu­rity.

UN Secretary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res told of­fi­cials at ne­go­ti­a­tions Tues­day that “the di­a­logue with in­dus­tries is some­times dif­fi­cult and com­plex”. “But we be­lieve that even in the oil and gas in­dus­try, there is a grow­ing con­science that the present trend is not sus­tain­able.”

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