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article imageCOP25 could make or break the world's climate commitments

By Karen Graham     Dec 2, 2019 in Environment
Madrid - U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries Monday not to give up in the fight against climate change, as representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered in Madrid for a two-week meeting on tackling global warming.
The next two weeks will come down to a make or break moment for mankind, as 29,000 people from countries around the world descend on Madrid, Spain to attend the COP25 Climate Change Summit.
The conference will include around 50 heads of state and government, business leaders, scientists and, activists, including Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. In the excitement of the opening moment today, many people may have forgotten that the climate conference had to be moved a couple of times.
The climate conference was supposed to be held in Brazil, but that country dropped out under the then-newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro late last year, reports CNN News The summit was then moved to Chile. However, after violent anti-government protests erupted in October, a new host was needed. Thankfully, Madrid agreed to host the meeting.
The European Union’s newly sworn-in leadership will be paying a visit to the summit, however, the rest of the world's largest carbon emitters, including the United States, China, and India will be sending low-level officials to the meeting.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has instead brought a team of Democratic members to the summit to let the world know America is still in the fight. “We’re still in it,” said Pelosi, adding that climate change poses a threat to public health, the economy, and national security, according to NBC News.
Even though the United States plans to withdraw from the Paris accord, it “will continue to participate in ongoing climate change negotiations and meetings—such as COP25—to ensure a level playing field that protects U.S. interests,” the State Department said Saturday, according to Slate.
In his opening speech to delegates on Monday, the U.N. chief cited recent scientific data showing that levels of heat-trapping gases have hit a record high, reaching levels not seen for at least 3 to 5 million years when sea levels were 10-20 meters (33-66 feet) higher than today.
Guterres warned that if we don't make sharp cuts in carbon dioxide and other emissions, temperatures could rise to twice the threshold set in the 2015 Paris accord by the end of the century.
“Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand, that fiddled while the planet burned?” he asked.
Chile’s environment minister, Carolina Schmidt, reiterated the UN Chief's words, saying the delegates need to lay the groundwork for moving toward carbon-neutral economies while being sensitive to the poorest and those most vulnerable to rising temperatures — something that policymakers have termed “just transition.”
“We have a common challenge but with differentiated needs and urgencies, which we can only overcome if we work together,” said Schmidt.
More about cop25, political will, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, firm committment, Uniyed States
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