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Five things you need to know from the UN Climate Summit

Greta Thunberg joined 15 other youngsters in lodging an official complaint under the UN Convention that five countries are violating children's rights by not doing enough to combat climate change. REUTERS

Five things you need to know from the UN Climate Summit

Here are five things you may have missed after Greta Thunberg held world leaders to account in a scathing attack at the UN Climate Summit in New York on Monday.

Five things you need to know from the UN Climate Summit

Children complain to UN

Greta Thunberg joined 15 other children in filing a formal complaint under the UN Convention that global inaction over climate change was violating the rights of the child.

The complaint was lodged shortly after Thunberg’s rebuke against world leaders that they were “failing and betraying future generations”.

Greta Thunberg made it clear that future generations "will never forgive" the world's leaders if they fail to act on climate change. REUTERS

Greta Thunberg made it clear that future generations “will never forgive” the world’s leaders if they fail to act on climate change. REUTERS

They believe that Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey have failed to uphold their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child by not doing enough to combat the climate crisis.

At a press conference across the road from the UN General Assembly, the 16 children – all from 12 different countries – collectively claimed that the five countries have not done enough “to prevent the deadly and foreseeable consequences” of climate change.

Thunberg’s ‘death-stare’ at Trump

US President Donald Trump wasn’t expected to attend the Climate Summit but briefly popped in to hear a speech from newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modhi (who himself has come under fire for not committing to winding up coal exploration), before leaving to attend a meeting on religious freedom.

Parting shot: Greta Thunberg's expression said it all as she crossed paths with Donald Trump at the UN. REUTERS

Parting shot: Greta Thunberg’s expression said it all as she crossed paths with Donald Trump at the UN. REUTERS

The closest that climate change skeptic Trump got to Thunberg was to pass her in a corridor – the pictures speak a thousand words. 

Trump wasn't in attendance when Thunberg gave her scathing address to the UN General Assembly. REUTERS

Trump wasn’t in attendance when Thunberg gave her scathing address to the UN General Assembly. REUTERS

Thunberg speech ‘will worry leaders’

Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists told The Guardian after Thunberg’s scathing speech,“if I were a world leader I’d feel very uncomfortable”.

“[Thunberg’s speech] was very emotional and grounded in science.

“But we’ve seen nothing from the big national leaders, the G20 players. It’s hard to say the summit moved the needle on the emissions curve,” he said.

Emissions cuts ‘need to triple’

The world is on track to warm by as much as 3.4C by the end of this century, with the UN warning that the rise in temperatures will see drastic rises in climate emergencies and extreme events such as heatwaves, flooding, drought and social unrest.

A critical water shortage in New South Wales could see some parts of the state run dry in just a month. GETTY IMAGES

A critical water shortage in New South Wales, Australia, could see some parts of the state run dry in just a month. GETTY IMAGES

But a United in Science report, issued ahead of the UN Climate Summit, makes for even grimmer reading.

The assessment, backed by the world’s major climate change bodies, says current targets to cut carbon emissions must be at least tripled, perhaps as high as fivefold, if the world is to meet the commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Brazil lets the side down

Brazil’s President Javier Bolsonaro will attend the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and was notable by his absence at Monday’s Climate Summit.

As the Amazon Rainforest continues to be ravaged by wildfires, his country wasn’t invited to attend.

The wildfires are already the worst since records began. REUTERS

The wildfires that have been decimating the Amazon are the worst since records began. REUTERS

Along with Saudi Arabia, Brazil hadn’t presented a clear plan on its objectives to combat climate change – a pre-requisite of attending the summit, which was laid down by UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres.

Isabel Cavelier, Senior Adviser at the Mission 2020 climate group told The Guardian that the likes of Brazil were undermining efforts to curb dangerous changes to the global climate.

“If you look at the US and Brazil, it’s a result of populist politics that is turning its back on the climate,” she said.

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