'We are losing the race' on climate change: UN chief

phys.org | 1/24/2019 | Staff
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The world is "losing the race" against climate change, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Thursday at the elite Davos forum, demanding bolder action from governments to arrest catastrophic warming.

"Climate change is the defining issue of our time. We are losing the race," he said on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which has featured much hand-wringing on the crisis this week.

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"It is absolutely central to reverse this trend."

Following a UN summit last month in Poland, which was designed to advance the Paris climate accord, Guterres said he was "not hopeful" that nations would find the necessary resolve.

Governments - Priority - Times

But he stressed: "We need political will and we need governments who understand that this is the most important priority of our times."

The Paris accord has been shaken by the withdrawal of the United States under President Donald Trump, and by threats to do the same by Brazil's new hard-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

UN - Commitments - Paris

The UN secretary-general said the commitments made in Paris were already "not enough".

"If what we agreed in Paris would be materialised, the temperature would rise more than 3.0 degrees (Celsius)," he said on a Facebook Live broadcast from Davos.

Countries - Commitments - Guterres - Measures - Climate

"We need countries to make stronger commitments," Guterres said, calling for more measures to mitigate against climate change and adapt to it, along with financial aid for poorer countries.

A WEF survey ahead of the Davos meeting found climate change was the leading concern of forum participants around the world, noting in particular the growing frequency of extreme weather events.

Action - Executives - Davos - Patrick - Pouyanne

Without stronger political action corporate executives in Davos such as Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy giant Total, have been touting their own measures to transition to a greener economy.

"We don't look to renewables to be green," he told the CNBC channel in Davos on Thursday, noting that electricity is the fastest-growing segment...
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