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Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt ‘Within 5 Years’ As Fire Causes Major Damage

The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel, "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame."

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Experts inspect the damaged Notre Dame cathedral after the fire in Paris, April 16, 2019, assessing the blackened shell of Paris' iconic cathedral to establish next steps to save what remains after a devastating fire destroyed much of the almost 900-year-old building. VOA

French President Emmanuel Macron promised Tuesday to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral “within five years” after a fire caused extensive damage to the Parisian landmark.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019. VOA

Macron said in a nationwide televised address the 850-year-old structure would be rebuilt “even more beautifully” and called on citizens to “change this disaster into an opportunity to come together.”

The fire is out and experts are assessing the damage. Paris fire department spokesman Gabriel Plus said building specialists and architects are “surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smoldering residues.”

Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

Although the fire caused massive damage to the famed Gothic edifice in central Paris, the city’s fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said firefighters saved the building’s two iconic towers and stone structure.

The flames, which at one point burned 10 meters into the air above the roof, destroyed much of the cathedral’s roof and caused its central spire to collapse.

The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang)
The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang) VOA

Cathedral spokesman Andre Finot said Monday the entire wooden interior of the cathedral was likely to have been destroyed.

Paris officials said firefighters worked to save as much art work and holy objects from the 12th-century cathedral as they could. Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said pieces of the purported Crown of Christ was salvaged and transported to “a secret” location.

The world-famous 18th century organ also survived, officials said, as did statues removed just days ago for restoration and other treasures inside the cathedral.

Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L'Isle, France, April 16, 2019.
Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L’Isle, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

It is not clear what caused the blaze, although fire officials said the blaze may be linked to renovation work at the building.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said 50 investigators are involved in the “long and complex” effort to find the cause. Heitz said investigators would interview workers from five companies working on the restoration. A spokesman for one of the companies, Julien le Bras, said “all the security measures were respected” by its 12 workers who he said are “participating in the investigation with no hesitation.”

A Vatican statement expressing shock and sadness and called Notre Dame a “symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Tuesday on Twitter Pope Francis is praying “for those who are trying to cope with this dramatic situation.”

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

The fire occurred during the holiest week of the year for Christians. It occurred less than a week before Easter and during Catholic Holy Week commemorations. An Easter Mass had been planned at the cathedral on Sunday.

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The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” (VOA)

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G20 Nations Unable To Meet Paris Agreement On Climate Action

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions

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G20 Summit, climate action, Paris, agreement, climate
Ministers and delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a new UN research has said.

An advance chapter of the 2019 Emissions Gap Report, released on Saturday ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit slated to open on Monday, has said that the G20 members, which account for around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, were not yet taking on transformative climate commitments at the necessary breadth and scale.

The report showed that around half of the G20 nations’ GHG emissions trajectories fall short of achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Taken as a whole, the current NDCs are nowhere near enough to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius or below two degrees temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

This means that the world is still on the path to a catastrophic temperature rise of well over three degrees this century.

However, the advance chapter points to key areas where G20 nations can rapidly step up action when they submit their next round of NDCs in 2020.

G20 Summit, climate action, Paris, agreement, climate
Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change, turning out by the hundreds of thousands to insist. Pixabay

“We can only avoid planet-altering climate change with the full commitment of G20 nations to a zero-carbon future. So far, they haven’t done enough” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“But the good news is that every G20 nation has an array of nationally appropriate actions available to them to slash their emissions. Combined with strong political and societal support for climate action, there has never been a better opportunity for policymakers to take these actions.”

The full Emissions Gap Report, due for release in late November, will contain a detailed G20 update.

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The 2018 report said the G20 would need to cut an extra 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2030 to meet their unconditional NDCs.

For conditional NDCs, the number is 3.5 gigatonnes.

According to the report, nations must at least triple the level of ambition of their current NDCs to have a chance of keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.

To keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, they must increase their ambitions five-fold. (IANS)