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World Leaders Gathering in New York for United Nations Summit on Climate Change

U.S. President Donald Trump will not be among those attending the summit

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In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani reviews an honor guard at the Mehrabad airport while leaving Tehran, Iran, for New York to attend UN General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. VOA

World leaders are gathering Monday in New York for a United Nations summit on climate change as scientists warn much more ambitious action must be taken to meet targets to mitigate the effects.

Some 60 presidents and prime ministers are due to address the day-long event on topics including shifting away from coal toward renewable energy sources, preventing and responding to disasters, and climate finance.

U.S. President Donald Trump will not be among those attending the summit.  He is spending Monday attending a meeting about the persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians, before holding separate talks with leaders from Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt and South Korea.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sought to highlight the importance of the climate summit and challenged leaders to “come with concrete plans” and not just “beautiful speeches.”

World, Leaders, New York, United Nations
Some 60 presidents and prime ministers are due to address the day-long event on topics including shifting away from coal toward renewable energy sources. Pixabay

Ahead of Monday’s event, the U.N. released a report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization showing there has been an acceleration in carbon pollution, sea-level rise, warming global temperatures, and shrinking ice sheets.

The report says the average global temperature for the period of 2015 through the end of 2019 is on pace to be the “warmest of any equivalent period on record” at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which has been ratified by 186 nations, calls for actions to prevent global temperatures from surpassing 2 degrees, and ideally remain within 1.5 degrees by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  One of the world’s biggest emitters – the United States – announced under President Trump that it would leave the pact. The U.S. decision has not stopped climate action at the state, local and private sector levels.

The report warns that in order to achieve the 2 degree target, “the level of ambition needs to be tripled.”

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Other global issues such as tensions between the United States and Iran; conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Kashmir; rising in equality and intolerance all figure to be themes as the U.N. General Assembly session begins Tuesday. (VOA)

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World is More Divided than Ever

Vyacheslav Nikonov, member of Russia's State Duma who was in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, said there was a growing gap

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Martin Schulz, former President of the European Parliament, expressed his disappointment that bipolarity was still present, and voiced his concern about the "unpredictable way the US President is acting" that does not facilitate dialogue. Pixabay

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world is more divided than ever, thus dialogue was urgently needed to build a more inclusive and peaceful future, experts said at the opening of the two-day Rhodes Forum.

The 17th Rhodes Forum, titled “Global (dis)order: Towards dialogue-based worldviews”, on Friday brought together over 300 attendees from 50 countries and regions, including political leaders, business people and scholars, to discuss pressing issues facing the world today, reports Xinhua news agency.

Martin Schulz, former President of the European Parliament, expressed his disappointment that bipolarity was still present, and voiced his concern about the “unpredictable way the US President is acting” that does not facilitate dialogue.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, member of Russia’s State Duma who was in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, said there was a growing gap between the “two new poles, the West and greater Eurasia”.

World, Divided, Berlin Wall
The 17th Rhodes Forum, titled “Global (dis)order: Towards dialogue-based worldviews”, on Friday brought together over 300 attendees from 50 countries and regions, including political leaders, business people. Pixabay

The role of the European Union (EU) in the world facing growing uncertainties is also a hot topic here.

Schulz said that he was confident that the EU would not fall apart and could play a significant part in building bridges of communication.

“Support for the EU is growing after the start of the Brexit discourse, but the continent’s Achilles’ heel is the fact that what we are seeing is a more geopolitical Europe,” said Shada Islam, policy director of Friends of Europe, a leading Brussels-based think tank.

For his part, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested keeping calm. “Despite strong rhetoric, the reality is different and no one is ready to pay a heavy cost with a confrontation,” he said.

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The Rhodes Forum is organised annually by the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, an independent think tank headquartered in Berlin, whose goal is to forge shared world views through dialogue. (IANS)