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UN IPCC Will Meet To Consider On A Global Warming Impact Report

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on.

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The sun is seen through evening air pollution in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 8, 2018. VOA

Experts from around the world will gather in South Korea from Monday for the 48th session of UN body Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to consider a special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report, titled Global Warming of 1.5AoC, a major scientific undertaking on the latest climate change research will speak on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

It will give policymakers the scientific information they need to take sound decisions and act to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The report, slated for October 8 release, was commissioned by governments after the UN climate change meeting in Paris in 2015, when it was agreed to act to limit increases in global average temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to try keeping that increase nearer to 1.5 degrees.

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A fisherman stands on his boat as he fishes at the Tisma lagoon wetland park, also designated as Ramsar Site 1141 in the Convention on Wetlands, in Tisma, Nicaragua. VOA

The report findings will come up for approval at the IPCC plenary that will conclude on October 5.

The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Commenting on his expectations for the report, Least Developed Countries Group Chair Gebru Jember Endalew said: “It will be important that the report and the summary for policy makers clearly sets out the scientific necessity of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as opposed to two degrees to protect people and the planet and highlights the vast discrepancy between this goal and our current global emissions pathway.

“In doing so, the report will shine a spotlight on the scale of the challenge the international community must rise up to meet. A future where warming is limited to 1.5 degrees is a brighter future for all.”

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Waves from Hurricane Florence pound the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C. VOA

The globe may miss the mark to achieve the Paris climate goals, warned the leaked IPCC final draft of the report that was shared with governments in June.

The leaked draft said a vast majority of nations, including disaster-facing India, were missing the mark in achieving the goal set at the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The draft report warned that “if emissions continue at their present rate, human-induced warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius by around 2040”.

India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), rated by Climate Action Tracker’s independent scientific analysis, as “2 degrees Celsius compatible”, is still too high for the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set in Paris.

Experts say current Indian climate pledges can be achieved if the country continues to increase the share of non-fossil energy resources.

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Climate Change Fuels California Fires. Flickr

India has ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce domestic emissions by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 — below 2005 levels — and increase the share of non-fossil energy resources to 40 per cent of installed electric power capacity by 2030.

After media reports on the leaked draft, the IPCC had clarified draft reports “are provided to governments and reviewers as confidential working documents.

“For these reasons, the IPCC does not comment on the contents of draft reports while work is still ongoing.”

According to the UN Environment’s Emissions Gap Report 2017, even if countries meet their pledges to limit global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius, their actions would only represent a third of what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Also Read: Wetlands Disappearing Faster Than Forests Due to Climate Change: Report

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the 2 degrees Celsius target.

One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union, including aviation. (IANS)

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U.N. Agencies Running Out of Money for Essential Relief Activities, Yemen’s Children Continue To Suffer

Meanwhile, U.N. humanitarian operations in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the coming weeks.

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A nurse looks as he weighs a malnourished girl at a malnutrition treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 7, 2018. VOA

The United Nations said Monday that the five-year-old conflict in Yemen has taken a “devastating toll” on the country’s children, with thousands killed, maimed and recruited to fight since the war began.

“The impact of this conflict on children is horrific,” Virginia Gamba, U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, told a meeting of the Security Council. “All parties to the conflict have acted and reacted militarily to events resulting in the use and abuse of children in multiple ways.”

Since monitoring began in Yemen in April 2013 (before the conflict fully erupted) until the end of the 2018, Gamba said more than 7,500 children have been killed or maimed and more than 3,000 have been verified as recruited or used, and there have been more than 800 documented cases of denial of humanitarian access to children.

Gamba said children reportedly have been forcibly recruited from schools, orphanages and communities to fight on the front lines, man checkpoints, deliver supplies or gather intelligence.

FILE - A 17-year-old boy holds his weapon in High dam in Marib, Yemen, July 30, 2018.
A 17-year-old boy holds his weapon in High dam in Marib, Yemen, July 30, 2018. VOA

Last year, over half of the children recruited were under the age of 15. During that period, the U.N. says more than 200 were killed or maimed while being used by the warring parties.

Gamba called out the Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels for recruiting the majority of the children, followed by the Popular Resistance, Yemen Armed Forces and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

“The numbers I present to you today represent a mere fraction of violations committed against children in Yemen,” she told council members.

In addition to harm to child soldiers, Gamba said of the more than 7,500 children killed or maimed between 2013 and 2018, nearly half of the casualties were caused by Saudi-coalition airstrikes.

Another 40 percent of such casualties came in ground fighting, including shelling and mortars. Gamba said Houthi rebels were largely to blame, followed by Yemeni government forces, among others.

It is not the first time the U.N. has called out the Saudi-led coalition or the Houthis for harming Yemeni children. But while both sides say they avoid harming civilians, the toll continues to rise.

Redeployment of forces

The U.N. has been working to end the conflict. On Monday, special envoy Martin Griffiths offered a glimmer of hope that the parties might be ready to take a first step away from the battlefield.

He told council members that both the Saudi coalition-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis have accepted a detailed redeployment plan to begin moving their fighters away from the crucial Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

FILE - Houthi militants patrol a street where pro-Houthi protesters demonstrated against the Saudi-led coalition in Hodeida, Yemen.
Houthi militants patrol a street where pro-Houthi protesters demonstrated against the Saudi-led coalition in Hodeida, Yemen. VOA

“We will now move with all speed toward resolving the final outstanding issues related to the operational plans for phase two, redeployments and also the issue of the status of local security forces,” Griffiths told the council in a video briefing from Amman, Jordan.

The parties committed to the plan at talks in Stockholm in December, but efforts to implement the agreement have failed. Griffiths expressed some confidence that they would go forward now.

“When — and I hope it is when and not if — these redeploys happen, they will be the first ones in this long conflict,” he said.

Griffiths acknowledged that the “the war in Yemen … shows no sign of abating,” and said there needs to be real progress on the military redeployments before the focus can shift back to the political track.

U.S. Acting U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen welcomed Houthi acceptance to phase one of the withdrawal plan and said Washington would be “watching closely to see if they make good on that agreement.”

Funds urgently needed

Meanwhile, U.N. humanitarian operations in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the coming weeks.

In February, international donors pledged $2.6 billion for Yemen relief operations. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — who are prosecuting the war against the Houthis — pledged an additional $1 billion.

FILE - A girl sleeps on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 4, 2018.
A girl sleeps on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 4, 2018. VOA

But U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said that nearly four months into 2019, the response plan has received only $267 million in actual funding.

“U.N. agencies are rapidly running out of money for essential relief activities,” he warned.

The country, which is facing a cholera epidemic, could see 60% of its diarrhea treatment centers close in the coming weeks if money is not received. U.N. food programs, which provide emergency food assistance to more than 9 million people every month, would also be impacted.

“Closing or scaling back such programs — at a time when we are struggling to prevent widespread famine and roll back cholera and other killer diseases — would be catastrophic,” Lowcock said.

He also warned that a potential environmental disaster is brewing off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

Lowcock said that an oil tanker used as a floating storage and offloading facility, and which is 8 kilometers off the coast at the Ras Isa terminal, is old and has not received any maintenance since 2015. It has about 1.1 million barrels of oil on board.

Also Read: Widespread Agricultural Distress: Hyderabad Social Entrepreneur Uses Big Data To Change Farmers’ Lives

“Without maintenance, we fear that it will rupture or even explode, unleashing an environmental disaster in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes,” Lowcock said.

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing Houthi rebels in support of Yemen’s government in March 2015. Since then, the U.N. estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed, mostly due to coalition airstrike. (VOA)