Published: Mon, December 02, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Don’t be on wrong side of history, delegates at climate summit warned

Don’t be on wrong side of history, delegates at climate summit warned

He praised the European Union for its plans to cut emissions drastically by 2030, and cited the US, China, India and Japan as countries needing to join in to meet the challenge.

"Those who don't want to see it will be on the wrong side of history", said Ms Schmidt as she called on governments to make more ambitious pledges to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases ahead of a deadline to do so next year.

That involves creating a functioning global emissions-trading system and compensating poor countries for losses they suffer from rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

Her rallying call came as developing countries accused the USA president of "ecocide" and the United Nations secretary-general said the world's biggest emitters were falling behind.

"Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution", said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

In order to do this almost 200 countries signed the Paris agreement in 2015 - this agreement meant that the countries pledged to try and keep the warming of the planet below 2 degrees Celsius, 1.5 is the number that scientists say that we should hit by 2050.

Countries most vulnerable to climate change meanwhile call for more robust climate action from the other nations.

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The Paris process faces a moment of truth next year when governments are due to unveil more ambitious proposals to cut the production of planet-warming gases in time to stop the climate careering past risky tipping points. He also emphasized the need for "more ambitious national commitments" to reduce emissions-especially from major polluters-and stressed that such commitments should "include a just transition for people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected as we move from the grey to the green economy".

Progress since then has been slow, and emissions have continued to rise while most countries have failed to propose the tougher targets needed to fulfil the goals of the Paris agreement.

50 Heads of State and government will attend the event and also representatives of the main global organisations.

President Donald Trump for his part has started withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement while the deforestation of the Amazon basin - a crucial carbon reservoir - is accelerating and China has tilted back towards building more coal-fired power plants. However, that won't be technically completed until November 4, 2020. "We urge the United States to join us in staying in".

Ms Pelosi said her decision to visit Madrid during impeachment proceedings showed Democrats were committed to tackling the "existential threat to humanity" from the climate crisis. And maybe four: "science, again".

"By coming here we want to say to everyone we are still in, the United States is still in", Pelosi told reporters at the summit, according to a report from Reuters.

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