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COP26 spikes calls for ambitious solutions to tackle climate emergency

The Executive Secretary, United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, has raised an alarm that the world is on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7C – far from the agreed 1.5C goal.

“Clearly, we are in a climate emergency. Clearly, we need to address it. Clearly, we need to support the most vulnerable to cope. To do so successfully, greater ambition is now critical,” she underlined.

As a result, Espinosa said: “We have no choice but to make COP26 a success. For that, we need unity of purpose. We need to leave Glasgow with a balanced package of decisions that reflects the positions of all countries. With a willingness to compromise among the many perspectives, we can arrive at workable, ambitious solutions that will help us keep the 1.5C goal within reach. We stand ready to work with all parties and to leave no voice behind to reach this important goal.”

At the ongoing UN Climate Summit, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, diplomats and politicians alike increase calls for more action – and ambition – to set out new commitments for curbing greenhouse (GHG) emissions and adapt to the impacts of a warming planet.

The official opening of the two-week conference came hours after preliminary climate talks among world leaders at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, which saw meagre forward movement.

That may be a hard truth, but it is the truth. Another truth: we are entirely capable of turning this around, if we so choose. We have the science. We have the resources. We agree on the urgency. We have run out of excuses. It is time to do the right thing.

A key report from the UN weather agency, WMO, warned that the past seven years are set to be the hottest on record, with our planet heading into “uncharted territory”, thereby raising the stakes for COP26.

Upon his departure from Rome, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a tweet that while he welcomed the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, he however left the summit with his hopes unfulfilled.

“But at least they are not buried,” he said, adding: “Onward to Glasgow and COP26 to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive and to implement promises on finance and adaptation for people and the planet.”

‘A hard truth’

Addressing the Conference’s preliminary opening on Sunday, the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Abdulla Shahid, called for an honest look at where things stand: “We have had decades to argue the facts about climate change, about the power of renewables, about the fine details of monitoring or cost-sharing. Yet, we have still failed to act with the conviction and determination required.”

“That may be a hard truth, but it is the truth.” And yet, “another truth: we are entirely capable of turning this around, if we so choose,” Shahid stated, declaring: “We have the science. We have the resources. We agree on the urgency. We have run out of excuses. It is time to do the right thing. Let us work together…and get this done.”

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