United Nations: Pledging to slash inequality and create opportunities globally, US President Barack Obama committed the US to achieving global development goals at a United Nations summit.
“In doing so, we recognise that our most basic bond of humanity compels us to act,” Obama said at the three-day Sustainable Development Summit that ended at the UN Headquarters in New York on Sunday, reported Xinhua news agency.
Earlier on Friday, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the summit. The agenda includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
Obama said the world suffers no illusions of the challenges ahead in achieving the goals, but “we understand this is something that we must commit ourselves to”.
In his defence of the 15-year plan, Obama mentioned, around 800 million people are scraping by on less than $1.25 a day and billions of people are at risk of dying from preventable diseases. In his address, the US president also warned against bad governance and inequality, among others, which threaten the achievement of the ambitious goals.
Obama also urged some countries to dump old attitudes, especially those that deny rights and opportunity to women.
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.
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.
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.
Conservationists argue Australia is doing too little to protect itself from the predicted ravages of a shifting climate.
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)