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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"

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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.

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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.

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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.”

ALSO READ: U.N. Agencies Urging Governments to Encourage Mothers to Breastfeed Their Babies

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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Mourners Gather in Iceland to Commemorate the Loss of the Glacier Okjokull

Iceland glacier commemorated with plaque

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Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier. Pixabay

Mourners will gather in Iceland on Sunday to commemorate the loss of the glacier Okjokull, which was officially declared dead in 2014 at the age of 700. The glacier was officially declared dead when it was no longer thick enough to move. What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano, the BBC reported.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson will all take part in a commemoration ceremony later in the day. After opening remarks by Jakobsdottir at the ceremony, mourners will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.

“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier,” it reads. “In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. “Only you know if we did it.”

The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally – 415 parts per million (ppm). “This is a big symbolic moment,” Magnason told the BBC on Saturday.

“Climate change doesn’t have a beginning or end and I think the philosophy behind this plaque is to place this warning sign to remind ourselves that historical events are happening, and we should not normalise them. We should put our feet down and say, okay, this is gone, this is significant.”

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Irish President Mary Robinson will all take part in a commemoration ceremony later in the day. Pixabay

Oddur Sigurdsson, the glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office who pronounced Okjokull’s death in 2014, has been taking photographs of the country’s glaciers for the past 50 years, and noticed in 2003 that snow was melting before it could accumulate on Okjokull. Glaciers have great cultural significance in Iceland and beyond.

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Snaefellsjokull, a glacier-capped volcano in the west of the country, is where characters in Jules Verne’s science fiction novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” found a passage to the core of the planet. That glacier is now also receding. (IANS)