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“We Need to Cut Greenhouse Emissions by 45% by 2030 to Avoid Climate Change Catastrophe”, Says Antonio Guterres

"Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives and for our lives. It is a race we can, and must, win"

climate change catastrophe
Guterres said: "July at least equalled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history. This follows the hottest June ever. Wikimedia Commons

Citing the shattering of temperature records in New Delhi, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the world is in “the race of our lives and for our lives” to avoid a climate change catastrophe.

“If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said on Thursday at a news briefing. “And that iceberg is also rapidly melting.”

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, New Delhi broke the July heat record with 48 degrees Centigrade and the month “has re-written climate history books as record heatwaves have been seen across the globe”. Record temperatures were recorded in several places around the world. Guterres said: “July at least equalled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history. This follows the hottest June ever.

climate change catastrophe
Greenhouse gases have continued to climb, and “climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated,” the report said. Pixabay

“All of this means we are on track for the period from 2015 to 2019 to be the five hottest years. “Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives and for our lives. It is a race we can, and must, win.” For this, the Secretary-General said he was convening the Climate Action Summit, in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to participate.

Guterres said that he had told the leaders from governments, businesses and civil society not to come with “beautiful speeches”, but with concrete plans to enhance nationally determined contributions to reducing carbon emission by 2020 and strategies for carbon neutrality – removing an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide for any emitted – by 2050.

Guterres said: “The world’s leading scientists tell us we must limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Centigrade if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We need to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. We need carbon neutrality by 2050.”

However, he also said there were optimistic developments in battling climate change. Because of technological developments, solar and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new power in virtually all major economies, he said. Businesses are also taking the lead in dealing with climate change, he said.

climate change catastrophe
Scientists say heatwaves such as the one Earth is currently experiencing are consistent with climate scenarios. Pixabay

“Leading businesses around the world are also recognizing that moving early from the grey to the green economy will deliver competitive advantages, while delaying will lead to huge losses.”

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Asset managers representing nearly half the world’s invested capital – some $34 trillion – “demanding urgent climate action, calling on global leaders to ‘phase out fossil fuel subsidies and thermal coal power worldwide,’ and ‘put a meaningful price on carbon'”, he said.

Businesses with a combined value of more than $1.3 trillion are on board with the UN Global Compact to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Centigrade, Guterres added. (IANS)

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Amazon Employees Risk Their Jobs by Criticizing Amazon’s Record on Climate Change

Workers Criticize Amazon on Climate Despite Risk to Jobs

Amazon employees
Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. VOA

Hundreds of employees are openly criticizing Amazon’s record on climate change despite what they say is a company policy that puts their jobs at risk for speaking out.

On Sunday, more than 300 employees of the online retail giant signed their names and job titles to statements on blog post on Medium. The online protest was organized by a group called Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, an advocacy group founded by Amazon workers that earlier this month said the company had sent letters to its members threatening to fire them if they continued to speak to the press.

“It’s our moral responsibility to speak up, and the changes to the communications policy are censoring us from exercising that responsibility,” said Sarah Tracy, a software development engineer at Amazon, in a statement.

Amazon employees at the company logistics centre in Boves
The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France. VOA

Amazon said that its policy on external communications is not new and is in keeping with other large companies. It said the policy applies to all Amazon employees and is not directed at any specific group.

“While all employees are welcome to engage constructively with any of the many teams inside the company that work on sustainability and other topics, we do enforce our external communications policy and will not allow employees to publicly disparage or misrepresent the company or the hard work of their colleagues who are developing solutions to these hard problems,” according to a spokesperson from the company.

Amazon, which relies on fossil fuels to power the planes, trucks and vans that ship packages all over the world, has an enormous carbon footprint. And its workers have been vocal in criticizing some of the company’s practices.

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Last year, more than 8,000 staffers signed an open letter to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos demanding that it cut its carbon emissions, end its use of fossil fuels and stop its work with oil companies that use Amazon’s technology to locate fossil fuel deposits.

The company said in a statement that it is passionate about climate change issues and has already pledged to become net zero carbon by 2040 and use 100% renewable energy by 2030. (VOA)