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“Science is telling us that time is running out”: UN climate chief warns the world is “playing with fire”

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Forget the Kardashions or the latest Donald Trump kerfuffle…this is what people should be paying attention to…

A senior United Nations official has warned that the world is “playing with fire” unless an agreement can be reached on climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. The overarching goal of the convention is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Christiana Figueres, climate chief, said that “science is telling us that time is running out” and the upcoming conference in Paris could be the last chance for a meaningful agreement. Figueres is attempting to broker a landmark global climate deal with more than 190 nations in December.

She told The Associated Press on Wednesday that with another decade of dawdling “we are going to be playing with fire.”

Figueres also said that Americans who doubt scientific evidence of global warming should look at the economic advantages of renewable energy, including for growth, jobs and exports. She said that Americans should view China as a model among top polluting countries that understands the economics benefits of trying to reverse climate change.

Tony de Brum, Marshall Islands’ foreign minister, said that a negotiating text that is shorter and more manageable than the current draft is needed to work towards a new deal on climate change. “It should be something that people can understand, be able to work with and negotiate from,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from France.

Attempts are currently being made to whittle down the draft text of the 85-page agreement. The message from this week’s two-day gathering in Paris was that the negotiating text should be short – around 40 pages – and ambitious, de Brum said. “The ministers should have something that they feel comfortable moving forward with,” he added.

All the countries involved have to figure out how to share the burden of curbing climate-changing emissions in a fair way. This week, the Marshall Islands became the first small island developing nation to submit a contribution to the new global climate change agreement, committing to cut economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gases by 32 percent below 2010 levels by 2025. It also included an indicative target to further reduce emissions to 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030, in line with a longer-term vision of net zero emissions by 2050.

Sadly, French President Francois Hollande made it clear that the offers of emissions cuts so far would not be sufficient. “With the accord that we could have based on the current state of negotiations and the contributions submitted by governments, we are still above 2 degrees, probably 3 degrees,” he told another conference in Paris.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement after the informal ministerial meeting that participants “are committed to finding compromises on the major political issues.” Those include fresh funding to help developing nations adapt to climate change impacts and green their economies, which was not discussed this week in Paris. “We’re all conscious of what is at stake and resolutely geared towards searching for the essential solutions,” Fabius added.

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““Science is telling us that time is running out”: UN climate chief warns the world is “playing with fire””