7 Things That Happened at the Climate Action Summit

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Even though climate change has been in discussion over the years, it is the number one concern faced by the world today. The increase of a few degrees in the global temperature is leading to droughts, floods, negative economic impact, adverse effects on marine life, heat waves, food shortages, and a negative impact on the ecosystems. The four warmest years have been since 2014.

It is high time that we put maximum effort to address and tackle this issue. Keeping that in mind, the United Nations Climate Action Summit was hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 23rd September to implement the Paris agreement on Climate change, accelerate actions, and boost ambition. Here’s what happened:

1. “Our warming Earth is issuing a chilling cry: Stop.” Guterres opened the summit by saying that statement and warning everybody that the “Nature is angry”

Leaders from Businesses, Government, etc came together on Monday to announce far-reaching steps to confront climate change. The UN estimates that the world needs to take firm actions and increase its efforts three-fold or five-fold to avoid being too late. Guterres said “The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us. Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century”.

2. Greta Thunberg’s strong words

Youth leaders made sure to show the urgency of better and greater action by the leaders. In a moving speech, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, urged the leaders to act. She accused the leaders of betraying her generation over Global warming and climate change.

In her speech, she condemned world leaders. “This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean."

“People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing, we are in the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and the fairy tale of endless economic growth. How dare you? How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the solutions needed are still nowhere in sight?" said Greta.

3. Prime Minister Modi’s announcement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Its vision is to enable a reduction in loss of infrastructure caused by disasters including climate change. India also pledged to increase renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022.

4. Fresh Commitments

77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. 70 countries announced that they will make better efforts and boost their national action plans by 2020 or will have started the process.

5. We are in this together

Many smaller countries were the ones who made the biggest pledges even though compared to the major industries and countries, they have contributed least to the issue.

6. Revisiting the Paris Agreement

Over 100 business leaders gave concrete actions that aligned with the Paris Agreement. These included asset owners holding over 2 trillion dollars in assets. Even Video game companies pledged to fight climate change. Among other announcements, Sony plans to offer a low-power mode in the PlayStation 5 which when used by at least a million gamers would save enough energy to power 1000 American homes.

7. Russia’s new stand

Russia announced that they will ratify the Paris Agreement and France announced that it will not trade with countries having policies countering the Paris Agreement. Financial commitments were made to the Green Climate fund by 12 countries with Norway, Germany, France and the United Kingdom doubling their current contributions.

While all these announcements are positive and boost the fight against climate change, Guterres addressed that much more action is needed to stop “the climate crisis”. “It’s not a time to negotiate because you cannot negotiate with nature” he added.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that we have loaned the planet from our ancestors to repay our future generations. Let’s see if these global leaders with tall and seemingly true promises give the future generations, a safer planet which is rightfully theirs.

Even though the pledges and announcements accelerated the rate at which actions against climate change are taken; they are not enough. Now is not the time to take baby steps. It is time to take strides and save ourselves. Greta Thunberg rightly said, “We’ll be watching you”.

- Written by Sunidhi Shende

- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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7 Things That Happened at the Climate Action Summit 7 Things That Happened at the Climate Action Summit Reviewed by EMN on September 26, 2019 Rating: 5

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