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UN Chief Warns of ‘Point of No Return’ on Climate Change

MADRID, Spain – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that the world’s efforts to stop climate change have so far been “completely insufficient” and that global warming is in danger of reaching the “point of no return.”
Speaking before the start of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid on Monday, the UN chief said that the risk of rising temperatures – including more extreme weather – is fine.
He acknowledged that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to curb global warming, but “what is missing is political will.”
“The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” Guterres told Spanish capital journalists.
“It’s in reach and hurtling toward us.”
Delegates from nearly 200 countries will seek to finalize the rules governing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement at the Dec.2-13 session, including how to build working global emissions trading schemes and compensate poor countries for the losses they suffer from rising sea levels and other climate change implications.
Guterres said that growing demands from citizens, especially young people, have shown that the desire for climate action is widespread.
“Public will is always missing,” he said. “Public commitment to impose a carbon price. Public commitment to avoid fossil fuel subsidies.”
From 2020 on, political will to stop the construction of coal power plants. Political willingness to move taxes from income to carbon. Taxing pollution rather than people.
Guterres noted that by 2050 some 70 countries–many of them among the most vulnerable to climate change–promised to stop emitting more greenhouse gasses.
“But we also see clearly that their weight is not pulled by the world’s largest emitters. And our target is unattainable without them,” he said.
The UN chief said he hoped the Madrid meeting would see more aggressive promises being made by governments ahead of a deadline next year.
He also said that establishing a worldwide carbon market, which is a key element of the Paris Agreement’s sixth document, remained one of the negotiators’ most contentious issues.
“For article 6, we’re here to find answers, not to find excuses,” said Guterres.
Guterres also announced that next year’s outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, will become his new special envoy on “climate action and climate finance.”
Organizers expect around 29,000 visitors for Monday’s opening, including some 50 heads of state and government, as well as scientists, seasoned negotiators and activists during the two-week meeting.
Some of the world’s largest carbon emitters-the US, China, and India will be represented by ministers or officials at the lower level.
President Donald Trump’s US administration, which declared its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, is led by Marcia Bernicat, Senior Assistant Deputy Secretary of State for Oceans and Global Environmental and Scientific Affairs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heads a Democratic lawmakers ‘ delegation to the negotiations.
About 5,000 police officers were tasked with keeping the summit secured, the Ministry of the Interior of Spain said on Sunday.
While authorities have stepped up border controls and cyber security measures, authorities have kept the country’s terror alert below the highest level, where it has been since the Tunisian and French extremist attacks in mid-2015.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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