Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Report on climate change approved


BERLIN — Government­s gave their blessing Sunday to a major new U.N. report on climate change, after approval was held up by a battle between rich and developing countries over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.

The report by hundreds of the world’s top scientists was supposed to be approved by government delegation­s on Friday at the end of a weeklong meeting in the Swiss town of Interlaken.

The closing gavel was repeatedly pushed back as officials from big nations such as China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the European Union haggled through the weekend over the wording of key phrases in the text.

The report by the U. N. Intergover­nmental Panel on Climate Change caps a series that digests vast amounts of research on global warming compiled since the Paris climate accord was agreed in 2015.

A summary of the report was approved early Sunday but agreement on the main text dragged on for several more hours, with some observers fearing it might need to be postponed.

The U.N. plans to publish the report at a news conference early this afternoon.

The unusual process of having countries sign off on a scientific report is intended to ensure that government­s accept its findings as authoritat­ive advice on which to base their actions.

At the start of the meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on delegates to provide “cold, hard facts ” to drive home the message that there’s little time left for the world to limit global warming to 2.7 Fahrenheit compared with preindustr­ial times.

While average global temperatur­es have already increased by 1.1 Celsius since the 19th century, Guterres insisted that the 1.5-degree target limit remains possible “with rapid and deep emissions reductions across all sectors of the global economy.”

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