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We are Losing the Race on Climate Change: UN Chief

DAVOS – The world is “losing the race” against climate change, warned UN chief Antonio Guterres at the Davos elite forum, calling on governments to take stronger action to end catastrophic warming.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are losing the race,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which has been critical of the crisis this week, AFP reported Friday.
“It is absolutely essential to reverse this trend.”
After the UN summit last month in Poland, which aimed to advance the Paris climate deal, Guterres said he was “not optimistic” for nations to find the necessary resolution.
But he stressed: “We need political will and governments that understand that this is the most important priority of our time.”
The Paris deal was shaken by the withdrawal of the United States under President Donald Trump and threats to do the same by the new leader of the Brazilian hard right, Jair Bolsonaro.
The UN Secretary-General said the commitments made in Paris were not “enough”.
“If what we agreed in Paris would materialize, the temperature would rise by more than 3.0 degrees Celsius,” he said on a Facebook live show from Davos.
According to a World Economic Forum survey held prior to the Davos meeting, climate change was the main concern of forum participants around the world, highlighting in particular the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
Without stronger political action, Davos leaders such as Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of the French energy giant Total, touted their own measures to move to a greener economy.
“We do not want renewable energy to be green,” he told CNBC’s Davos Channel on Thursday, noting that electricity is the fastest-growing segment of the energy market.
“We are turning to renewable energy because it is the best way to penetrate this electricity market, but this market will also require natural gas, hence natural gas and renewable energies.”
But activists say companies do not do enough. Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, 16, made her voice heard in Davos this week. It inspired a wave of climate events by schoolchildren around the world after delivering a fiery speech at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland last month.
“They (companies) know exactly what invaluable values they sacrificed to continue to earn unimaginable sums,” she told AFP in an interview.
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who signed the Paris Agreement for the United States in 2016, said that 38 of the 50 US states are implementing their own climate policies despite Trump’s withdrawal and skepticism about climate change.
The Paris Pact was partly based on the hope that the private sector would step up its efforts with new investments in areas such as batteries and solar panels, he noted. “This is not done enough, and even recently in Katowice, you have witnessed the fight that was going on, just to be reasonable here,” Kerry told Davos on Tuesday, also on CNBC
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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