What climate summit achieved after Greta outburst

The United Nations (UN’s) climate summit has closed amidst cautious praise for its achievements, and bitter condemnation for its failures.

On the plus side, more than 60 nations announced they were working on or exploring plans to reduce greenhouse gas to virtually zero.

And a similar number said they would definitely boost their climate change ambitions by next year.

On the minus side, the campaigner Greta Thunberg blasted leaders for what she called inadequate ambition that risked the future of the young.

Germany’s pledge, for instance, was described by critics as totally unfit to meet carbon-cutting targets it’s already promised.

And scientists will warn on Tuesday of alarming changes in the natural world, including melting ice and sea level rise beyond previous projections.

So it’s possible to describe the UN summit as a cup half full, or a cup three-quarters empty.

That said, there were very clear signs that around the world, people are waking up to the threat of an over-heating climate.

India, China and the European Union (EU) say they will deliver tougher carbon-curbing plans in 2020.

Major ports, banks and shipping lines are committing to “a moon shot” of net zero carbon shipping by 2030.

Finland aims to become the first industrialised nation to absorb more carbon than it emits.

Pakistan, which has planted a billion trees in the last five years, pledged to add 10 billion in the next five.

And Greece said it would ban single-use plastics by 2021 and phase out its use of the dirtiest coal by 2028.

Critics applauded the efforts but said commitments from major nations were nowhere near what was needed to stabilise the climate.

The USA, for instance, was represented by Donald Trump.

He wandered in mid-session, briefly took a seat in the audience, checked his watch and sauntered out to attend a rival meeting on religious freedom nearby – all under the furious gaze of Ms Thunberg.

US President Donald Trump appeared to mock the 16-year-old, tweeting a video of her address, where she warned about impact of climate change, with the comment: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” -BBC

Show More
Back to top button