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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

The UN chief’s climate warning should shake the world

While India and other affected countries fight for compensation from the rich world, they must also augment their efforts at enhancing nature-based mitigation and adaptation strategies that can improve resilience of ecosystems, and tackle the climate crisis.

editorials Updated: Dec 03, 2019 18:07 IST

Hindustan Times
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP25 summit in Madrid, Spain, December 1, 2019
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP25 summit in Madrid, Spain, December 1, 2019(AP)
         

The Conference of Parties (COP25) began in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, with a calamitous warning from the United Nation secretary-general, Antonio Guterres. “By the end of the coming decade we will be on one of two paths, one of which is sleepwalking past the point of no return,” he said in his opening address. “Do we want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand and fiddled as the planet burned?” The 197 participating countries will, hopefully, rise to Mr Guterres’ challenge, because currently not enough is being done to meet the three climate goals: Reducing emissions by 45% by 2030; achieving climate neutrality by 2050 (a net zero carbon footprint); and stabilising the global temperature rise at 1.5°C by the end of the century.

The Madrid summit is critical because it is taking place days before the Paris Agreement is set to come into force (monitoring of Nationally Determined Contributions targets will begin from 2020). Critical pending issues such as carbon markets, climate finance and loss and damage due to climate-related disasters are likely to be raised at the meeting.

The summit will also witness negotiations on financial support from the developed world to both help develop technologies to battle the climate crisis and repair the loss and damage caused by climate disasters. Apart from market-based mechanisms, the developed world, which created the problem in the first place, had promised to give poor nations $100 billion per year from 2020 to help combat the climate crisis. Whether the rich countries do so is to be seen. While India and other affected countries fight for compensation from the rich world, they must also augment their efforts at enhancing nature-based mitigation and adaptation strategies that can improve resilience of ecosystems, and tackle the climate crisis.