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Don’t give in to despair on global warming: UN climate chief

BERLIN (AP) – Nations must keep up hope and focus on tackling global warming despite the many obstacles now to international cooperation – including the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic, food shortages and rising energy costs, the United Nations (UN) climate chief urged on Monday.

Patricia Espinosa, whose second term as head of the UN climate office ends this year, spoke at the start of a 10-day meeting in Bonn, Germany, where diplomats from around the world will try to lay the foundations for this year’s international climate summit in Egypt.

“I appeal to all of you, especially in these difficult and challenging times, not to lose hope, not to lose focus, but to use our united efforts against climate change as the ultimate act of unity between nations,” she said.

Since signing the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, most countries have stepped up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas that underlie human-made global warming.

But collectively those pledges still fall far short of what’s needed to limit global warming since pre-industrial times to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

While Espinosa said that “much more” is needed, she noted that the commitments so far were also made during a time of international turmoil – from the United States (US) decision under former president Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris Accord, later reversed by the Biden administration to the first years of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We must never give in to despair,” she said, joining a chorus of scientists and policymakers who reject climate doomism. “We must continue to move forward. Look at what we have accomplished in the last six years.”

Young girls pull containers of water during a drought as they return to their huts in the village of Lomoputh in northern Kenya. PHOTO: AP

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