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Reminding World of its commitments to Climate Change, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon calls for Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidy

Ban stressed that the world has to come up with strategies to mitigate climate change aggressively by 2018 and make a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy

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A Drought hit zone,, Pixabay
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– by Kushagra Dixit

Marrakech, Nov 15, 2016: Reminding the world of its commitments to the climate change, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for ending the fossil fuel subsidy.

“The choices we make today may have a catastrophic effect on climate change for thousands of years. All countries must work on elimination of fossil fuel subsidy,” he said at the opening ceremony of joint high-level segment of the Marrakech climate talks, along with the King of Morocco.

Ban stressed the scaling up of clean energy sources and said the world needs to anticipate and reshape the development of their future plans.

As the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), members of civil society and over 300 organisations demanded a halt to all fossil fuel extraction and making an urgent transition to clean energy.

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India alone spends hundreds of billion of dollars to subsidise fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, coal and kerosene oil.

Much of this subsidy is aimed at over 300 million people in India who don’t have access to electricity.

Ban Ki-moon, attending his last UN Climate Conference as UN Secretary General, said he expects the United Nations will continue to advocate moral interventions, whenever needed.

“I leave you with the hope that you will continue with the responsibility to protect our beautiful earth,” he said.

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The UN chief along with Moroccan King Mohammed VI reminded the developed countries of their financial commitments to developing nations by mobilising $100 billion before 2020.

“Developed countries must provide financial assistance to developing countries, especially in southern Africa and island states, as they are the most vulnerable,” the Moroccan King said.

Ban stressed that the world has to come up with strategies to mitigate climate change aggressively by 2018 and make a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

“The Paris Agreement is a new dawn for global climate action. Countries have strongly supported the agreement in their own national interest by pursuing the common goals. It has to be translated into complete goal to protect and safeguard humanity,” said Ban.

The UN chief has been part of 10 COPs, the COP22 at Marrakech being his last before he demits office.

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He lauded the contribution and collaboration from companies, government and non-governmental organisations for their global commitments and actions.

Speaking of lessons he learned from his experiences, Ban asked the world to rely on science and work on mechanism to reduce emission to meet the set targets by 2020.

“The UN must continue to champion the science. Nationally Determined Contributions alone will not get us out of danger zone but science also,” he said.

“We have no right to gamble for the future generation. We have to fund and expand clean energy sources and reshape our environment in a more resilient manner. We have to advance progress and invest in resilient approaches,” Ban said. (IANS)

(Kushagra Dixit is in Marrakech at the invitation of TERI to cover COP-22. He can be contacted at kushagra.d@ians.in )

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A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts

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A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts
A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 2, 2018: A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could make over a quarter of the world’s land to become drier and more desert like, increasing the threat of widespread drought and wildfires, new research led by one of Indian origin has found.

The study showed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere to limit global warming under 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius would dramatically reduce the likelihood of significant aridification emerging in many parts of the world, the researchers said.

Aridity is a measure of the dryness of the land surface, obtained from combining precipitation and evaporation.

“Our research predicts that aridification would emerge over about 20-30 per cent of the world’s land surface by the time the global mean temperature change reaches 2 degrees Celsius,” said Manoj Joshi from the the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences.

“But two thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Joshi added.

For the findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the team examined projections from 27 global climate models to identify the areas of the world where aridity will substantially change when compared to the year-to-year variations they experience now, as global warming reaches 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The world has already warmed by one degree Celsius. As a result, drought severity has been increasing across the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and the eastern coast of Australia over the course of the 20th Century, while semi-arid areas of Mexico, Brazil, southern Africa and Australia have encountered desertification for some time as the world has warmed.

“Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity. It can also lead to more droughts and wildfires – similar to those seen raging across California,” explained Chang-Eui Park from the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China. (IANS)