‘Don’t lose hope’ on cli­mate, UN chief says


UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res urged coun­tries not to lose hope in the fight against cli­mate change, as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from nearly 200 coun­tries gath­ered in Madrid for a two-week meet­ing on tack­ling global warm­ing.

In his open­ing speech to del­e­gates, Mr Guter­res cited re­cent sci­en­tific data show­ing that levels of heat-trap­ping gases have hit a record high, reach­ing levels not seen for at least three mil­lion years when sea levels were 10-20 me­tres higher than to­day.

Un­less emissions of car­bon diox­ide and other green­house gases are sharply cut, tem­per­a­tures could rise to twice the thresh­old set in the 2015 Paris ac­cord by the end of the cen­tury, he warned.

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

Coun­tries agreed in Paris four years ago to limit global warm­ing to well be­low 2C (3.6 Fahren­heit), ide­ally 1.5C (2.7F) by the end of the cen­tury.

Al­ready, av­er­age tem­per­a­tures have in­creased by about 1C.

Mr Guter­res said that un­less the world stops burn­ing coal “all our ef­forts to tackle cli­mate change will be doomed,” adding that if coun­tries had started cut­ting emissions a decade ago, reach­ing the goal would have been eas­ier.

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