COP25: United Nations chief issues stark warning as climate summit begins

Pablo Tucker
December 2, 2019

Overall some 50 world leaders will attend, although one notable absentee will be US President Donald Trump, who previous year announced his country's withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Of course, Pelosi, by saying, "we are still in it", is not specifically referencing the United States' forgone involvement in the Paris climate agreement, but rather Congress' involvement in climate change initiatives, in general.

"We're still in it", she said.

Guterres explained that there is only one way to control the temperature of the planet and that was "limited use of fossil fuels".

Asked about comments by Spain's interim prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, that "only a handful of fanatics deny the evidence" of man-made global warming, Pelosi responded that she had "three words that describe how we address this: science, science and science".

The conference is hosted by the Spanish capital after Chile, which presides over the event, had to step down as host due to social unrest.

The US will take action on greenhouse gases and engage with other countries on the climate emergency despite Donald Trump's rejection of worldwide cooperation, a delegation from the US Congress has told the United Nations climate conference in Madrid. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), around 30,000 participants have been accredited to the event.

The latest round of annual negotiations to bolster the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming began against a backdrop of unusually severe weather disasters this year, from fires in the Arctic, Amazon and Australia to intense tropical hurricanes.

Current global efforts to reduce carbon-dioxide emission are not sufficient to meet the goal set in Paris to restrict temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C. In 2018, emissions totaled 55 gigatonnes of Carbon dioxide equivalent. The central motto of this 25th edition is 'Time for Action'.

Pelosi likely hopes that President Trump's successor will re-enter the United States into the Paris climate agreement, but did not specifically talk about the impeachment proceedings against the sitting president during her visit.

The agreement aims to fight climate change by preventing the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees celcius obove pre-industrial levels.

Chile's environment minister, Carolina Schmidt, said that the December 2-13 meeting in Madrid needs 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".

World leaders and experts are using COP25 as a venue for promoting multilateralism.

"One of the most important points is that China opposes any kind of unilateralism and safeguards the authority of multilateralism", said Lu, adding that China will work with other parties to help make the conference a success.

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