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UN Chief António Guterres Warns The International Community About Global Warming

In September 2019, Guterres plans to convene a climate summit in New York to try to push climate action to the top of the international agenda.

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U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday that climate change is moving faster than efforts to combat it and that the international community needs to “put the brake” on greenhouse gas emissions, which drive global warming.

“If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us,” Guterres told a gathering of youth, business leaders and diplomats at U.N. headquarters.

“We are careening towards the edge of the abyss,” he said, standing at a podium in front of a rain-splattered window. “It is not too late to shift course. But every day that passes means the world heats up a little more, and the cost of our inaction mounts.”

The U.N. chief renewed his call for action on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. California announced Monday that it is committing to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.

The summit aims to mobilize international and local leaders from states, cities, business and civil society with national government leaders, scientists, students and nonprofits.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. VOA

Paris agreement

Guterres said the targets agreed to in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord are the “bare minimum” to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In the agreement, world leaders committed to stop global temperatures rising by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to keep it as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.

“But scientists tell us that we are far off track,” he cautioned, noting these commitments represent just one-third of what is needed.

“We need to shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels,” Guterres said. “We need to replace them with clean energy from water, wind and sun.”

The U.N. says that the planet is still consuming 85 percent of its energy from fossil fuels and only 15 percent from renewable energies, including nuclear wind and solar power.

The United States, which is the only country to have signed and then withdrawn from the Paris accord, has loosened federal regulations on the fossil fuel industry under President Donald Trump’s administration. Trump has also vowed to save the coal industry.

Guterres urged governments to end subsidies for fossil fuels and institute carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of greenhouse gas emissions.

climate
An aerial view of downtown San Francisco, California

He said the rise of renewable energy has been “tremendous.”

“Today, it is competitive with — or even cheaper — than coal and oil, especially if one factors in the cost of pollution.”

Guterres singled out China, a major polluter, for investing $126 billion last year in renewable energy — a 30 percent increase over 2016. He noted that countries that have long depended on oil, such as the Arab Gulf states and Norway, are looking at ways to diversify their economies away from fossil fuels.

“We know what is happening to our planet,” Guterres said. “We know what we need to do. And we even know how to do it. But sadly, the ambition of our action is nowhere near where it needs to be.”

‘Vast opportunity’

Guterres said the transition to cleaner energy and lower carbon emissions can have great economic opportunities.

“The International Labor Organization reports that common sense green economy policies could create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030,” he noted.

Climate
In this file photo taken Oct. 10, 2015, a bus moves past by solar power and wind power farms in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui region.

He appealed for leadership from all sectors to mitigate the impact of global warming.

In September 2019, Guterres plans to convene a climate summit in New York to try to push climate action to the top of the international agenda.

Also Read: Plastic Contribute to Global Warming: Scientists

“I am calling on world leaders to come to next year’s climate summit prepared to report not only on what they are doing, but what more they intend to do when they convene in 2020 for the U.N. climate conference, and where commitments will be renewed and surely ambitiously increased,” he said.

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A Majority of Children Die Due to Lack of Basic Healthcare Facilities: UN

For children everywhere, the most precarious time is the first month of life

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A malnourished child lies in a bed waiting to receive treatment at a therapeutic feeding center in a hospital in Sana'a, Yemen, Jan. 24, 2016. (VOA)

An estimated 6.3 million children died before their 15th birthdays in 2017, or one every five seconds, mostly due to a lack of water, sanitation, nutrition and basic healthcare, according to report by United Nations agencies on Tuesday.

The vast majority of these deaths – 5.4 million – occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths, the report said.

“With simple solutions like medicines, clean water, electricity and vaccines” this toll could be dramatically reduced, said Laurence Chandy, an expert with the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF. But without urgent action, 56 million children under five – half of them newborns – will die between now and 2030.

Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths in children under five were in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was one in 185, according to the report co-led by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

Children
UN: A Child Dies Every Five Seconds, Most Are Preventable Deaths. Pixabay

It found that most children under five die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal sepsis and malaria. Among older children – aged five to 14 – injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic.

For children everywhere, the most precarious time is the first month of life. In 2017, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month, and a baby born in sub-Saharan Africa or in Southern Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than one born in a high-income country.

Also Read- NASA Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

Despite these problems, the U.N. report found that fewer children are dying each year worldwide. The number of under five deaths fell to 5.4 million in 2017 from 12.6 million in 1990, while the number of deaths in five to 14 year-olds dropped to under a million from 1.7 million in the same period. (VOA)