Zero-hour on climate, but UN talks in another time zone

(EurActiv, 2 Dec 2019) Global talks tasked with neutralising the threat of global warming get underway in Madrid Monday (2 December), but their narrow focus on rules and procedures remains out of sync with the world’s climate-addled future.

Mindful of this gap, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that a “point-of-no-return” in the climate crisis is “in sight and hurtling towards us.”

Indeed, three decades after NASA scientist James Hansen made headlines by telling the US Congress global warming had begun, evidence of its dire impacts is so overwhelming that “climate denier” is synonymous with insisting the Earth is flat.

Guterres lambasted the world’s major economies, describing their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions overheating the planet as “utterly inadequate”.

He didn’t name names, but he didn’t have to.

“Some countries like China and Japan are signalling their unwillingness to increase ambition,” said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and, as a former negotiator for France, a main architect of the Paris Agreement.

Nor have India, Russia or Brazil expressed any enthusiasm for ratcheting up carbon-cutting pledges submitted under the 2015 treaty.

Donald Trump has taken things a step further by yanking the US out of the Paris deal entirely.

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EurActiv, 2 Dec 2019: Zero-hour on climate, but UN talks in another time zone