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To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

Negotiators are also expected to put forth plans to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate.

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Drought, Climate change, global warming
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA
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The World Bank has announced it is doubling its funding to help poor nations adjust to global warming to $200 billion over five years.

“If we don’t reduce emissions and build adaption now, we’ll have 100 million more people living in poverty by 2030,” the bank’s climate change chief John Roome told the French News Agency.

“And we also know that the less we address this issue proactively in just three regions – Africa, South Asia, and Latin America – we’ll have 133 million climate migrants, Roone cautioned.”

Helping poorer nations adapt to a warmer environment and the weather extremes that come with it include building sturdier homes, finding new sources of fresh water, and what the bank calls “climate smart agriculture.”

Climate change, ice, China, emissions, Global Warming
An ice crevasse is seen on the Baishui Glacier No. 1, the world’s fastest melting glacier due to its proximity to the Equator, on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the southern province of Yunnan in China. VOA

The World bank ‘s announcement comes as delegates from 200 countries started a two week-long climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

The threat posed by global warming “has never been worse,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said Sunday.

The threat posed by global warming “has never been worse,” U.N. climate chief Patricia Espinosa said at the start of climate talks in Poland.

“This year is likely to be one of the four hottest years on record. Climate change impacts have never been worse. This reality is telling us that we need to much more,” she said Sunday.

Negotiators from nearly 200 nations are in the southern Polish city of Katowice for two weeks of talks on implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Accord. Signatories to that agreement pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius by 2030.

Climate change, emissions, Global Warming
U.N. Climate chief Patricia Espinosa (C) is flanked by officials during a press conference at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, VOA

“Looking from the outside perspective, it’s an impossible task,” Poland’s Deputy Environment Minister Michal Kurtyka told the Associated Press last week.

“The United Nations secretary-general is counting on all of us to deliver. There is no ‘Plan B'”

The climate change talks got a boost when 19 of 20 G-20 nations meeting in Buenos Aires reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change.

 https://youtu.be/mbt6_4IgZNg

The United States was the only holdout. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement because of what he says is the economic damage the treaty’s provisions would cause.

Trump is a promoter of fossil fuels and nuclear power and has proposed renegotiating the Paris Accord – an idea many dismiss as impractical.

Also Read: Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

Host country Poland is expected to propose what it calls a “just transition” for the oil, gas, and coal industries to ease the financial blow from the move away from such polluting sources of energy.

Negotiators are also expected to put forth plans to help developing nations adapt to a warming climate. (VOA)

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Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Pakistan, Religious Freedom
Members and supporters of the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) chant slogans during a protest after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, in Islamabad, Pakistan. VOA

The United States said Tuesday it has added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally mandated annual report, meaning the U.S. government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.

Pompeo a year earlier had placed Pakistan on a special watch list – a step short of the designation – in what had been seen as a U.S. tactic to press Islamabad into reforms.

Human rights advocates have long voiced worry about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians.

Sikh, Religious Freedom
A Sikh pilgrim visits the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. VOA

But the timing of the full designation may be jarring as it comes after Pakistan moved to resolve its most high-profile case, with the Supreme Court in October releasing Asia Bibi – a Christian woman on death row for eight years for blasphemy.

The government recently charged a hardline cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, with terrorism and sedition after he led violent protests against Bibi’s acquittal.

“In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” he said.

Nine countries remained for another year on the list of Countries of Particular Concern – China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

pakistan,Sikh, Religious Freedom
Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, center, arrives along with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, second left, brother Atal Yousafzai, left, and the principal of all-boys Swat Cadet College Guli Bagh, during her hometown visit, March 31, 2018. VOA

The United States removed one country from the list – Uzbekistan– but kept it on the watch list.

Pompeo also put on the watch list Russia, adding another item of contention to the relationship between the two powers.

Also Read: The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the heterodox Christian group known for proselytization.

Also on the watch list was the Comoros, the Indian Ocean archipelago that is almost exclusively Sunni Muslim. (VOA)