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UN chief warns of ‘runaway’ global warming if no action is taken by 2020

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New York :Warning of the risks of “runaway” global warming, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday called on global leaders to rein in climate change faster.
“If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change,” Guterres said at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Pope Francis warned that climate change risked destroying humanity on Saturday (June, 9) and called on energy leaders to help the world to convert to clean fuels to avert catastrophe. Anna Bevan reports
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment,” he said. “Scientists have been telling us for decades. Over and over again. Far too many leaders have refused to listen.”
His remarks came with countries around the world far short of meeting the goals they set for themselves under the 2015 Paris accord to reduce the emissions that have warmed the planet during the last century. The next round of climate negotiations is scheduled for this year in Poland.
One of the big tests at those talks, which start Dec. 3 in Katowice, will be whether countries, especially industrialized countries that produce a large share of global emissions, will set higher targets for reducing their emissions.
“The time has come for our leaders to show they care about the people whose fate they hold in their hands,” Guterres said, without taking questions from reporters. “We need to rapidly shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Guterres’ speech came days before a high-level climate meeting in San Francisco, spearheaded by Gov. Jerry Brown of California, meant to demonstrate what businesses and local leaders have done to tackle climate change.
The U.N. chief seems to be taking a page from Brown’s playbook. He, too, is looking beyond national leaders to make a difference. He has invited heads of industry and city government leaders to his September 2019 climate change forum in an apparent effort to increase pressure on national governments.
The Paris Agreement aims to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels in order to avoid what scientists call the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
But few countries are even close to meeting the targets they set under the Paris pact. And an assessment by the U.N. found that country targets so far would achieve only one-third of the global target.
Guterres sought to make the case that a shift away from fossil fuels like oil and coal would create jobs and bolster economies. Rebutting critics who argue that such a shift would be costly, he called that idea “hogwash.”
He cited the steps private companies are taking to wean themselves away from polluting fossil fuels — including a hat tip to the insurance company Allianz, which has promised to stop insuring coal fired power plants — though he said such actions are plainly insufficient.
“These are all important strides,” Guterres said. “But they are not enough. The transition to a cleaner, greener future needs to speed up.”
He warned that governments were not meeting their Paris Agreement commitments and goaded world leaders to step up.
“What we still lack, even after the Paris Agreement, is leadership and the ambition to do what is needed,” he said.
Guterres did not mention any countries or any heads of state by name. But looming large over his remarks was the leader of world’s most powerful country: President Donald Trump, who has dismissed climate science, rolled back environmental regulations and vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.


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International

Trump will suffer same fate as Saddam: Iran’s Rouhani

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Tehran :President Hassan Rouhani says Iranians will defeat US President Donald Trump like what they did to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
He made the remarks in a military parade in Tehran on Saturday to mark the beginning of the week that commemorates Iran’s eight-year resistance against Iraq’s 1980-88 invasion.
About 600 vessels took part in the Persian Gulf naval drill, a day after Iran held aerial exercises in the waterway, vowing that a “pounding reply” awaited the country’s enemies.
Trump withdrew from a landmark multilateral nuclear deal in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
“The same will happen to Trump. America will suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein,” Rouhani said.
The president also said Iran will not abandon its defensive weapons, including its missiles “that make America so angry”.

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Guterres to make first India visit as UN chief on Oct 1, to open UN House

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United Nations:UN chief Antonio Guterres will travel to India early next month, his first trip to the country as head of the world body that coincides with the commencement of events marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Secretary-General will arrive in New Delhi on October 1. His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2 next year, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq told reporters here on Friday.
On October 1, Guterres will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi and on October 2, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.
During the visit, he will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on October 3.
He will also meet with Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan before giving a lecture at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme ‘Global challenges, global solutions’.
The Secretary-General will also take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. In the afternoon of October 3, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will return to New York on October 4.
Guterres had visited India in July 2016, just months ahead of the election for Secretary General. During his visit then, he had met Swaraj.
Replying to a question on Guterres’ trip to the Golden Temple, Haq said that the visit is essentially a personal one as the UN chief wanted to see the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.
When asked if Guterres will be asked questions about the 1984 Sikh riots, Haq said it was a bit “premature” to mention the topics he will bring up.
Haq also expressed the world body’s gratitude to the Indian government for its contribution of $1 million to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat.
The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management Jan Beagle, who said that “India’s generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies”.
The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, Haq added.

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Rouhani vows to boost Iran missiles despite western concerns

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Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Saturday to boost Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.
“We will never decrease our defensive capabilities… we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade.
“The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West. Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and US bases in the Middle East.

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