World UK keen to avoid virtual COP26 climate summit: Minister
Our 'tree-change' and 'sea-change' dreams are under threat as scientists warn about building homes in 'risky areas'
Scattered housing in "at risk" areas must be replaced with sustainable resilient community models, according to experts, who've warned many of our homes will become worthless if we don't "wake up"."Sea-change" or "tree-change" settlements "scattered" along coastlines or into bushland are often more vulnerable to extreme weather events, involve more energy intensive lifestyles, and can stretch emergency services during crises.
The British government will do "everything we can" to avoid a virtual climate summit in November when it is set to host nearly 200 nations in Glasgow, Scotland, the minister in charge of the 12-day meet told AFP in an interview.
"We are planning for a physical event," Alok Sharma, President of COP26, said in Paris Tuesday after meeting with former French prime minister Laurent Fabius.
"We will plan for contingencies, but we will do everything we can to ensure that this is a physical meeting."
Maas: Climate protection has "top priority"
According to the German Foreign Minister, climate change represents the greatest threat to peace in the world. In an online debate by the UN Security Council, there is consensus. © Janine Schmitz / photothek / imago images Provided by Deutsche Welle Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has asked the United Nations to make the fight against global warming its "top priority".
Fabius presided over the 2015 UN negotiations leading to the landmark Paris Agreement.
Originally slated for November 2020, the annual UN climate talks -- a pop-up conclave of 25,000 to 30,000 people -- were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Keeping not only those who are attending the meeting safe, but of course also the people of Glasgow" is a top priority, Sharma said, adding that he was "cautiously optimistic" that vaccines and rapid testing would make a face-to-face gathering possible.
"That is what the parties we talk to want to happen," he said.
Perhaps not all parties, a French diplomat suggested.
Young Conservative Activists 'Absolutely' Believe There's a Bipartisan Path to Address Climate Change
"Young conservatives view climate change as a threat to American security and prosperity and believe the government should respond accordingly," said Kiera O'Brien of Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends.Over the past few decades, Republicans have often appeared to be opposed to addressing concerns about climate change, with many even expressing doubt about the science demonstrating that the planet is warming rapidly due to human activities. That trend is changing with young Republicans, as polls show that the demographic is increasingly concerned about climate change and its impact on the planet's future.
"More than a few countries are hiding behind the need to work via virtual platforms, using it as a pretext to say 'we can’t negotiate and make progress on specific points'," he told AFP.
A Conservative MP since 2010, Sharma stepped down as secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy in January to focus exclusively on preparing the high-stakes climate meet.
His biggest challenge in to run-up to the November 1-12 conference, he said, will be coaxing governments to announce more aggressive short-term plans to slash carbon pollution.
"I am asking countries to come forth with ambitious emissions reductions targets in the near term, their 2030 NDCs," he said, referring to greenhouse gas reduction plans known as nationally determined contributions.
The world's biggest emitters -- including the European Union, China and the United States under the Biden administration -- have vowed to make their economies carbon neutral by mid-century.
Family honoured for 100 years of service to Bureau of Meteorology say past 10 years one of the driest
A Queensland family honoured for 100 years of service to the Bureau of Meteorology as rain observers say the past 10 years have been the driest on record. Overlooking the old family farmhouse on Gerard Walsh's farm is a hill covered in hundreds of dead ironbarks."Two years ago, they would have all been alive and flourishing. Basically every tree has died," Mr Walsh said.Across all of 2019, his property at Greymare in southern Queensland recorded just 144 millimetres of rain — the driest in 100 years."Certainly the rainfall has changed, all for the lesser," Mr Walsh said.
-Keeping 1.5C in reach -
But without a rapid drawdown of greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, the Paris target of capping global warming "well below" two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels -- much less the aspirational goal of 1.5C -- will be missed, scientists warn.
Last week UN chief Antonio Guterres noted that "governments are nowhere close to the level of ambition needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement."
On Tuesday, the International Energy Agency reported that global CO2 emissions -- which plummeted seven percent in 2020 -- have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and then some.
Under the terms of the 2015 Paris deal, nations agreed to submit revised plans every five years, but most major economies missed the end-of-2020 deadline, blaming the pandemic.
Current carbon cutting pledges add up to 3C of warming by 2100, according to the UN.
Britain has led by example, vowing to cut carbon emissions at least 68 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, the most ambitious goal of any major economy.
Sharma said ramping up developing nations aid to $100 billion per year to help curb emissions and cope with climate impacts is also a top priority.
The deadline for reaching that threshold was 2020, but financing remains mired in controversy, with developing nations saying the goal has not been reached, and that too much of the aid given is in the form of loans rather than grants.
Sorting out new rules for carbon markets, putting all nations on the same schedule for revising their NDCs, and boosting plans for adapting to future climate impacts are also high on the agenda, Sharma said.
Why the First Women to Overwinter Alone in the Harsh Arctic Returned .
Why the First Women to Overwinter Alone in the Harsh Arctic ReturnedFor two indomitable women, Hilde Fålun Strøm and Sunniva Sorby, this was their extreme COVID reality. They have spent 16 months—10,000 hours—isolated together in the high Arctic in the 76th parallel in the world's northernmost archipelago, Svalbard, Norway, living in a remote trapper's hut with no electricity or running water, and the nearest sign of civilization 140 km away. And it was all by choice.