Monday, January 30, 2023

Obama hits out at Russia, China for “lack of urgency” on climate

GLASSGOW, Scotland (NWN) – Barack Obama expresses confidence in UN climate talks on Monday that the Biden administration would finally get its $555 billion climate package through Congress, and blamed US rivals China and Russia for an “alarming lack of urgency” to cut their own climate-devastating emissions.

“When it comes to climate, time is really running out,” Obama told climate advocates. Although progress has been made since the historic 2015 Paris climate accord “we are nowhere near where we should be.”

His remarks came as conference leaders acknowledged on Monday that several important points remained after a week of talks. The trust gap between rich and poor countries on climate change issues emerged as negotiations went through scrutiny of what has been done and what remains to be done. Developing countries used versions of the word “disappointing” five times when leaders talked about progress to date on Monday.

The United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, is the former US president’s first since he helped win the 2015 Paris climate agreement, when nations committed to cutting fossil fuel and agricultural emissions, to reduce Earth’s warming by 1.5%. below the destructive level. °C (2.7 °F).

That celebration has faded and has been replaced by anxiety. Donald Trump pulled America out of the Paris Agreement. President Joe Biden withdrew the US as soon as he took office this year, but Trump’s move has set back US efforts to fight climate change for years.

“1.5C is now on life support, it’s in the ICU,” said Alden Meyer, a longtime supervisor of climate talks with environmental think tank E3G.

Obama’s appearance on the sidelines of the talks sought to remind governments of the excitement that surrounded the Paris Agreement, and urged them to announce more immediate, concrete steps to put the 2015 deal into effect.

“America is back and moving forward more boldly. America is not alone,” Obama said.

Obama noted the efforts of the United States – the world’s second worst climate polluter after China – stalled after Trump withdrew from the climate deal.

“I wasn’t really happy about it,” he admitted, but said that saving the planet requires optimism.

“At times I feel hopeless. There are times when the future seems somewhat bleak. There are times when I doubt that humanity can work together before it is too late,” Obama said “We can’t stand the disappointment.”

Despite opposition within Biden’s own Democratic Party, which has blocked anti-climate legislation, Obama said he is confident some version of Biden’s ambitious climate bill will be passed in Congress within the next few weeks.

“It will set the United States on course to meet its new climate goals,” he said.

And while in 2015, the rapprochement between Obama administration negotiators and their Chinese counterparts was seen as paving the way for a global Paris Agreement, Obama on Monday joined other global leaders in climate talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Criticized for not joining the leaders. Glasgow.

“It was particularly discouraging to refuse the leaders of the world’s two biggest emitters, China and Russia, to join the proceedings, and their national plans reflect what appears to be an alarming lack of urgency,” Obama said.

Obama spoke Monday for a session on Pacific island nations, which are threatening the existence of rising oceans under climate change.

“We all have a part to play. We all have work to do. We all have a sacrifice to make on the climate,” he said. “But those of us who live in rich countries, those of us who helped to overcome the problem … we have an extra burden.”

When he was briefing the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) on the progress of the first week, COP26 President Alok Sharma had to correct himself about the number of issues resolved, changing “many” to “few”. .

No agreement has yet been reached on the three main goals of the United Nations Convention. They pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030 to keep the 1.5°C temperature limit target of the Paris climate agreement alive; $100 billion needed annually in financial aid from rich countries to the poor; And the idea that half of that money goes to adapt to the worst effects of global warming. Several other issues, including trade carbon and transparency, were also yet to be resolved.

Many developing countries were pessimistic. He called the progress “disappointing” and not enough, adding that the declarations to fight climate change were high in quantity but worried they were low in quantity.

Delegates from 77 developing countries, along with China, said the talks may not be successful unless the climate summit resolves the financial pledge problem to help poor countries combat climate change.

Guinea’s Ahmadou Sebori Toure, speaking on behalf of poor countries, said that rich countries were not meeting their $100 billion pledge, indicating that those countries were just making “an empty commitment”.

“There is a history of broken promises and unfulfilled commitments by developed countries,” Bolivia’s Diego Pacheco Balanza told the conference.

Scientists say urgency of global warming is as great as terrifying speeches in Glasgow expressed, planet only years away from point Where increasing losses from coal, petroleum, agriculture and other pollution sources make it impossible to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

There have been massive protests in Glasgow and around Europe over the past few days calling for swift action to fight global warming.

Obama told young people, “You’re right to be disappointed,” but then followed the advice his mother gave him when he was younger.

“Don’t panic. Get busy, get to work and change what needs to be changed,” he said. “Vote like your life depends on it — because it does.”


Associated Press reporter Anirudh Ghoshal contributed to this report.


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