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Climate change: US announces new greenhouse gas commitments

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Washington: Citing talks with India, China and Brazil to reduce the use and emissions of greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the White House announced a suite of new private-sector commitments and executive actions related to climate change.

Announcing the new commitments ahead of the Nov 1-5 Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dubai, the White House said Thursday, “President Obama believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”

“His Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to ensure that we leave our children a planet that is not polluted or damaged,” it said.

The White House Thursday also recognized the robust progress that has been made against the private-sector commitments and executive actions that were announced in Sep 2014 to address HFCs.

The US has been working to negotiate an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs globally, it said.

“Our bilateral announcements with China, India, Brazil, and others recognize the need to advance progress on managing HFCs through the Montreal Protocol,” the White House said.

“With strong international action on HFCs, up to 0.5°C of warming could be avoided by the end of the century, substantially furthering our goal to limit global temperature rise,” it said.

The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy made commitments in Sep 2014 to take actions to support a Montreal Protocol amendment to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs and also to take actions and support policies with a goal to reduce the global HFC greenhouse gas contribution by 80 percent by 2050.

In the past year, the Alliance has taken numerous actions in support of these commitments, the White House said. For example, it participated in the India-US HFC Task Force and other bilateral diplomatic efforts, including that with China.

Meanwhile, in an address at the Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies, in Bloomington, Indiana, Secretary of State John Kerry cited the US-China announcement last November regarding their respective greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“It was a dramatic moment of transformation, where China and the United States joined together, and it took away the excuse from less-developed countries,” Kerry said.

“And the symbolic breakthrough of this coordination was bigger than many of us maybe even anticipated,” he added.

“Since then, every major economy in the world and 150 nations have come forward with their own set of targets or, in the case of India, unveiled a plan to make massive new investments in alternative energy,” Kerry said.

“In just two months, representatives from around the world will gather in Paris to approve what I hope will be by far the most ambitious agreement on global climate ever reached.” he said. “And hopefully, it will send a signal to the marketplace.”

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders to Stop Using ‘Creative PR’

Greta Thunberg accuses world leaders of 'creative PR'

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg a is a young climate activist from Sweden. Wikimedia Commons

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has called upon world leaders to stop using “clever accounting and creative PR” to avoid real action on climate change.

Speaking at a UN climate change summit, Thunberg said the next decade would define the planet’s future, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

She accused world leaders of making constant attempts to find loopholes to avoid making substantial changes.

The teenage activist’s appearance came after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called her a “brat”.

“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” the 16-year-old Swede told the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid, drawing applause.

Summits on climate change seemed “to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition”, she added.

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg said the next decade would define the planet’s future. Wikimedia Commons

The clock was ticking as the decade comes to a close, she said.

“In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future. Right now, we are desperate for any sign of hope,” she said.

This was meant to be a big moment in the talks, the elixir of the “Greta effect” bringing new energy to a flagging process.

The teenager is almost certainly the most famous person here, attracting far more attention than other celebrities like Al Gore, and the UN badly needs a boost.

Her talk came over as measured, grounded in the latest research, and avoided the flash of hurt and anger she displayed in New York in September.

Looking around the hall, it was striking how many of the national delegations had not turned up for this morning session at the conference.

A snub by the big fossil fuel economies? Or maybe they were too busy in the negotiations themselves?

In any event, the passion among the millions of young people who’ve taken to the streets to demand action on climate change feels very remote from the diplomatic struggles in these halls.

Thunberg’s speech comes after the far-right Brazilian leader lashed out at her after she expressed concern about the killing of indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon.

Also Read- “The World is Watching”, says Antonio Guterres

“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

“It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that,” he added, using the Portuguese word for brat “pirralha”.

The activist responded by changing her Twitter bio to Pirralha. (IANS)