UN climate summit diary, day #1: ‘Big announcement’ expected

(EurActiv, 23 Sep 2019) Over this special series on the UN climate action summit (23-25 September), EURACTIV gives you a glimpse into the goings on in New York and what is driving the conversation there. In this edition: What’s at stake, who’s coming, who’s not, and what corporations have planned.

What’s at stake?

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has invited the international community to the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Action Summit (23-25 September) to be held in New York. The aim of both summits is for countries to commit to greater ambition in their climate and development policies.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries committed to delivering new, tougher climate plans in 2020. But so far, they are lacking the ambition needed to effectively fight global warning despite the intensifying climate crisis that sees ice melting faster than predicted in Greenland, forests burning in the Amazon and tropical storms smashing the Caribbean.

As it is, the climate action plans published by countries to date put the world on course for a global warming of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius instead of less than 2C degrees as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Worse, 14 nations representing 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions have indicated they do not intend to revise current plans to fight global warming by 2020, according to the report ‘The Heat Is On: Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UN Secretary-General Guterres has therefore called on the international community to make greater efforts, urging all countries to present new and more effective measures by 2020, in order to reach the Paris climate targets.

And he made himself perfectly clear: “I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments. People want solutions, commitments and action. I expect there will be an announcement and unveiling of a number of meaningful plans on dramatically reducing emissions during the next decade, and on reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.”

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EurActiv, 23 Sep 2019: UN climate summit diary, day #1: ‘Big announcement’ expected