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For Israel and Palestine one choice stands above all: Whether to choose peace or death, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Addressing the Security Council over the situation in Middle East, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon on Tuesday said that the resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict issue lies in the peace talks.

“For both sides in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one choice stands above all: Whether to choose peace or death,” Ban Ki moon said in New York.

Too many lives have been lost, too many families have been destroyed, too many livelihoods have been shattered, and too much distrust has been sown, added Ban Ki moon.

Expressing his concern over the conflict, the Secretary-General said, “Over the years, we have seen determined efforts to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated peace based on a two-state solution.  Instead of peace, however, there have been decades of missed opportunities and failures that have come at an enormous human cost.  The prospect of a two-state solution continues to recede, with potentially explosive consequences,”

Ban Ki moon urged the new Israeli government to reaffirm Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution and take credible steps to foster an environment conducive to a return to meaningful negotiations.

“Seven months since my last visit to Gaza, I continue to be concerned by the fragile security situation, the lack of progress on intra-Palestinian reconciliation and the pace of reconstruction, ” the Secretary-General said, and added, ” The impact of the conflict and of extreme poverty on Palestinians in Gaza has been severe.  I urge the international community to support a second humanitarian payment to Palestinian civil servants in Gaza as an integral part of the necessary and agreed crucial reforms.”

The international community must do more to promote a return to negotiations that will end nearly half a century of occupation and allow two states, Israel and Palestine, to live side-by-side in security and peace, he said.

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Australia Rejects U.N. Climate Report, Continues Using Coal

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent.

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Australia, Coal
The Liddell coal-fired power station is seen in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia. VOA

Australia is rejecting the latest U.N. report on climate change, insisting coal remains critical to energy security and lowering household power bills.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its report released Monday that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach zero by the middle of the century to stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The authors warned that if warming was allowed to reach two degrees, the world would be on course toward uncontrollable temperatures.

Climate change, Australia
The coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation’s top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Georgia. VOA

They made special mention of coal, insisting that its use for power generation would have to fall to between zero and two percent of current usage.

The report has received a lukewarm response by Australia’s center-right government. It has said it has no intention of scaling back fossil fuel production because without coal, household power bills would soar.

Canberra also insists it is on target to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement, which attempts to unite every nation under a single accord to tackle climate change for the first time ever.

Australia earns billions of dollars exporting coal to China and other parts of Asia, while it generates more than 60 percent of domestic electricity.

Queensland, Australia
FILE – A dead tree stands near a water tank in a drought-stricken paddock located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Australia’s Environment Minister Melissa Price believes the IPCC report exaggerates the threat posed by fossil fuel.

“Coal does form a very important part of the Australian energy mixer and we make no apology for the fact that our focus at the moment is on getting electricity prices down,” Price said. “Every year, there is new technology with respect to coal and what its contribution is to emissions. So, you know, to say that it has got to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow.”

Australia has some of the world’s highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas pollution. A recent government report showed a failure to reduce levels of greenhouse gas pollution. The survey said that between January and March this year, Australia had its most elevated levels of carbon pollution since 2011.

Coal, Australia
Workers operate machines at a coal mine at Palaran district in Samarinda, Indonesia (VOA)

Conservationists argue Australia is doing too little to protect itself from the predicted ravages of a shifting climate.

Also Read: Use Every Resources To Help in Climate Change: Scientists

Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent. Scientists warn that droughts, floods, heat waves, brush fires and storms will become more intense as temperatures rise, with potentially disastrous consequences for human health and the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef. (VOA)