By Frank Jordan and JEFF SCHAEFFER, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) – World leaders are holding a virtual gathering on Saturday to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Accord, which has set a goal to keep global temperatures above the levels that are common to mankind Disastrous consequences can occur.
The event, organized by France, Britain, Italy, Chile and the United Nations, will see the heads of state and government of more than 70 countries step up their efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions that promote global warming.
Experts say the commitments made by the international community have already improved the long-term outlook on climate change, which is likely to reduce the worst situation by the end of the century. But wildfires in the Amazon, Australia and the US, floods in Bangladesh and East Africa, and record temperatures in the Arctic have affected growth by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) as pre-industrial times are already on the planet.
The Paris Agreement aims to reduce global warming by the end of the century by more than 2C (3.6F), ideally 1.5C (2.7F).
Achieving this would require phased-out fossil fuels and better conservation for the world’s carbon-soaked forests, wetlands and oceans.
The United States, which dropped the Paris Agreement under President Donald Trump, will not join the program at the federal level. But Michigan government, Gretchen Whitmer, Massachusetts’ Gov. Charlie Baker and US business leaders, such as Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook, will participate.
President-Elect Joe Biden has resolved to reintroduce the treaty and keep the US to reduce its emissions to net zero by 2050.
Also absent from the event are major economies such as Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, none of which have offered significant improvements on their current emissions targets.
Environmental campaigners said of Brazil’s recent announcement that it would stick to a 43 percent reduction in emissions over the next decade compared to 2005 levels and aim for a net zero by 2060 – compared to most other countries.
In contrast, an agreement on Friday by EU members to broaden the continent’s 2030 targets from 40% to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels was widely welcomed, although activists said it and May also be higher.
China, the world’s largest emitter, also shocked the world by announcing a net zero target of 2060 in September, with emissions peaking by 2030. Observers say this is a low offer that Beijing could improve significantly in the coming years.
The 189 countries that are in favor of the Paris Agreement are required to submit their updated targets to the United Nations by the end of the year. It usually took place at the annual United Nations Climate Summit, but the event was postponed for a year due to an epidemic.
The gathering, to be held in Glasgow in November 2021, will now have to insist on financial aid to poor countries to deal with climate change and to fix regulations on international markets in emissions trading. Britain, hosting next year, announced this month that it aims to cut emissions by 68% over the next decade and support the state for exporting fossil fuel industry.
Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who was a key player in the Paris talks, said leaders had a duty to be optimistic about their ability to curb global warming.
“Because if we don’t, the option is unimaginable,” she said. “None of us are alive today, with a responsibility on our shoulder to change a world that is a world of misery for generations to come.”
Jordan reported from Berlin.
Summit website: https://www.climateambitionsummit2020.org
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.