Friday , October 23 2020

Climate change: COP25 talks to open as 'point of no return' in sight – BBC News, BBC News


                                 From left, Spain's minister for the ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, COP President Carolina Schmidt and UN climate chief Patricia EspinosaImage copyright                 COP 25                                                      
Image caption                                    Three women will run the meeting: Spanish minister Teresa Ribera, COP President Carolina Schmidt and UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa                             

Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing

According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon” .

Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger.

The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts.

This conference of the parties, or COP 25, was due to be held in Chile but was cancelled by the government due to weeks of civil disturbances.

Spain then stepped in to host the event, which will see 29, 000 attendees over the two weeks of talks.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 Reuters                                                      
Image caption                                    School protesters are among those who have taken to the streets                             

Speaking ahead of the meeting the UN secretary general said the climate crisis was imminent and political

“In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments – particularly from the main emitters – to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions, “Mr Guterres said.


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Media captionCOP 25: What you need to know about the climate conference

Almost every country in the world has now signed and ratified the Paris climate agreement and under the terms of the pact they will all have to put new climate pledges on the table before the end of 2020.

Countdown to Glasgow

This meeting in Madrid signals the start of a frantic 12 months of negotiations that will culminate in Glasgow with COP 26 in November next year.

Some 50 world leaders are expected to attend the meeting in the Spanish capital – but US President Donald Trump will not be among them.

However Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will attend the conference with a congressional delegation.


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While her presence has been welcomed, US environmentalists want to see concrete steps on climate.

“While it’s great Speaker Pelosi is coming to Madrid in place of Trump, symbolic gestures are no substitute for bold action,” said Jean Su, from the US Center for Biological Diversity.

“America remains the number one historic contributor to the climate emergency, and even Democratic politicians have never committed to taking responsibility for our fair share. “

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Image caption                                    The UN secretary general says no new coal-fired power stations should be built after 2020                             

Underlining the real world impacts of climate change, a report from the charity Save the Children , says that what it calls “climate shocks” are threatening tens of millions of people in East and Southern Africa.

The charity says that floods, landslides, drought and cyclones have put 33 million people at emergency levels of food insecurity. More than half of these are believed to be children.

The situation has been made worse because the two strongest cyclones ever to hit the African continent, affected the same region just weeks apart.

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi last March, while six weeks later Cyclone Kenneth slammed Mozambique with millions affected by flooding.


“The climate crisis is happening here, and it’s killing people, forcing them from their homes and ruining children’s chance of a future,” said Ian Vale from Save the Children.

“These unrelenting emergencies are stretching the humanitarian system to breaking point. Repeated cycles of food insecurity from climate-related shocks is resulting in big gaps in funding and unmet humanitarian needs. We are reaching a crisis point in this region. “

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 Met Office                                                      
Image caption                                    Temperature data for the five major global climate databases                             

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, will tell the meeting that the world is now facing a full-blown climate emergency.


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Media captionWhat is global warming?

He will urge countries to significantly increase their carbon cutting ambitions. Subsidies for fossil fuel extraction must end, he said, and no new coal-fired power stations must be built after

Follow Matt on Twitter@ mattmcgrathbbc.


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