02 December 2019 - COP25 opens as 'point of no return' looms
Climate change: COP25 talks open as 'point of no return' in sight
Matt McCrath (BBC News, 02/12/2012)
Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis.
According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon".
Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger.
Trade deals may be an effective method of enforcing climate action
Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald, 01/12/2019)
As world leaders gather this week in Madrid to try to breath some life into the Paris Agreement climate accord, it has its work cut out. With US President Donald Trump triggering the one-year get-out clause and the latest United Nations Emissions Gap Report starkly revealing a world further off course than ever from meeting its emission goals, it's increasingly looking like an agreement in name only. It may explain why some countries are looking elsewhere to enforce change.
Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham recently got a taste of this. During negotiations with the European Union, France proposed tying a free trade deal to Australia adopting climate change targets enforceable by sanctions. As part of a government that has repeatedly defied pressure on it to set more ambitious targets, Senator Birmingham was always going to baulk, stating: "I think it would be unprecedented to see those type of provisions proposed in an agreement."
COP25: youth ‘leadership’ contrasts with government inaction, says UN chief
Fiona Harvey (The Guardian, 02/12/2019)
António Guterrez, the United Nations secretary general, contrasted the “leadership” and “mobilisation” shown by the world’s youth on the climate emergency with the lack of action by governments, which was failing to keep up with the urgency of the problem despite increasing signs that the climate was reaching breakdown.
Before the start of a critical conference on the climate crisis on Monday, he said the world had the technical and economic means to halt climate chaos, but what was missing was political will.
No one should want their children to live in this ‘bleak’ future
Editorial Board (The New York Times, 02/12/2019)
The U.N. Environment Program released its latest report last week on where we are and where we need to be on addressing climate change. The word the authors chose to describe humanity’s future: “bleak.”
“Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global [greenhouse gas] emissions, meaning that deeper and faster cuts are now required,” the report found. The hope that global emissions of heat-trapping gases might level out with the increasing use of natural gas in the United States and energy intensity improvements in China turned out to be too optimistic. After temporarily leveling out, emissions continued their rise. That includes in the United States, where Republicans’ various excuses for inaction — such as that the natural gas boom showed that government policy was unnecessary to cut emissions — ring more hollow than ever.