• Facebook
  • Youtube
  • RSS Feed

Rich variety of life on earth essential says UN chief Guterres, marking biological diversity day

Since December 1993, when the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force, its parties have acted to conserve the earth’s flora and fauna, in a sustainable and fair way, said the UN chief.

“Achieving these objectives is integral to meet our goals for sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres stressed, underscoring the importance of protecting, restoring and ensuring access to ecosystems to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger: Goals 1 and 2 of what are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To mitigate climate change, he notes that deforestation and land degradation must be reduced while at the same time, enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands. 

He said it was also critical to protect the biodiversity of forests and watersheds to support clean and plentiful water supplies.

Yet, despite these and other benefits, biodiversity continues to decline globally.

“The answer is to intensify efforts and build on successes,” stated Mr. Gutteres. He explained that in 2018, Parties to the Convention will begin work on a new action plan to ensure that, by 2050, biodiversity is preserved to the best of our abilities. 

“The entire world needs to join this effort,” he emphasized: “I urge governments, businesses and people everywhere to act to protect the nature that sustains us.  Our collective future depends on it,” concluded the Secretary-General.

In her message, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), noted that biodiversity is at the heart of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Its decline compounds other challenges, including climate change, water and food security, and public health, which “can potentially lead to catastrophic outcomes for human existence on this planet,” she warned.

“It is therefore, imperative to do everything in our power to halt the destruction of nature,” she emphasized.

“We have two more years to go to redouble our efforts, […] to design a new deal for nature that will take us from 2020 to the middle of this century,” she said, adding: “We don’t have much time. But we have a lot of power if we work together, in a collaborative manner to change the way we use nature and biodiversity.

Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, drew attention to wetlands as being among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth – from which almost all freshwater supplies are drawn.

“Given the increasing human population and its dependence on water and wetlands, we must work together in a collective, concerted and sustained effort to conserve wetlands for the planet’s biodiversity and human wellbeing,” she said.

For his part, David Morgan, from the UN-administered Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), reiterated that “biodiversity loss has an enormous impact on our planet, for both the natural environment and human beings.”

“Safeguarding biodiversity is among the key elements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said. 

“While we are still facing tremendous challenges, with the political will of the world’s governments, we can protect the world’s biological diversity,” he asserted, affirming CITES’ continued collaboration with CBD “to save our common heritage for this and future generations.”

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1010342

Back to Top

Climate change: An ‘existential threat’ to humanity, UN chief warns global summit

Both leadership and innovation are essential for climate actionSecretary-General António Guterres said in his keynote address to the global gathering, known as the R20 Austrian World Summit – a long-term initiative to help regions, States and cities implement the Sustainable Development Goals and meet the Paris Agreement targets. 

Mr. Guterres spelled out: “We must use all our resources to build a sense of urgency”, to raise ambition, while keeping temperature rises in the years ahead, as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.

He said there was reason to hope, declaring that “the world is seeing a groundswell of climate action”,  citing examples, including Morocco’s building of a solar farm “the size of Paris, that will power over a million homes by 2020” and China’s achievement in already passing it’s 2020 goal of producing 105 gigawatts of solar power capacity.

 

“We must build on this,” the UN chief emphasized, calling renewable energy – which already produces a fifth of the world’s electricity – power that also delivers significant health benefits.

The World Health Organization reports that more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor-quality air that is damaging human health. 

Financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve Secretary-General António Guterres

“Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally,” he explained. “For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years.”

Mr. Guterres encouraged private sector leaders attending the UN General Assembly-backed summit in the Austrian capital, to announce new financing for clean energy projects. 

While the 30-member independent International Energy Agency estimates that 2017 investments in renewable electricity amounted to $242 billion, said the UN chief, that was still far less than the funds invested in new fossil fuel development. Billions of dollars more needs to be invested in renewables if we are to see a “full-scale transition to clean energy” by 2020, said Mr. Guterres.

Moreover, some 75 per cent of the infrastructure needed by 2050 has still not been built. 

“Mobilizing and equipping local governments with the capacity and financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve,” he maintained. 

Noting that climate change continues to move faster than climate action, Mr. Guterres quoted the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change saying: “The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.” 

“But,” he added, “it does not have to be that way,” pointing to solar, wind and cutting-edge technologies, such as electric vehicles or energy from algae in the ocean, which promises a new era of clean air. 

“Let’s join a race to the top, a race where there are only winners,” concluded the Secretary-General.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1009782

Back to Top

Save our planet by protecting migratory birds and their ‘epic journeys,’ urges UN chief

That’s one of the key messages from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, for World Migratory Bird Day, celebrated on Saturday, with the soaring message: “Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation.”

“Migratory birds connect people, ecosystems and nations. They are symbols of peace and of an interconnected planet,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement to mark the Day.

“Their epic journeys inspire people of all ages, across the globe,” he continued, adding: “World Migratory Bird Day is an opportunity to celebrate the great natural wonder of bird migration – but also a reminder that those patterns, and ecosystems worldwide, are threatened by climate change.”

The Day highlights the need to conserve migratory birds and their habitats by raising awareness of the threats they face, their ecological importance and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

Migratory birds fly hundreds and thousands of kilometres, along historic routes, to find the best habitats available for feeding, breeding and raising their young. The perilous journeys involve a wide and diverse array of threats.

Of the 11,000-bird species on the planet, one-in-five is considered migratory. Forty per cent of them are in decline, with one-in-eight under threat of global extinction. Major threats include habitat-loss and degradation, caused by agricultural and coastal development; collision with badly placed wind turbines and powerlines; unsustainable harvesting, and illegal killing and taking.

Migratory birds are also greatly affected by poisoning, such as through ingesting lead released into the environment, through spent ammunition, or toxic weights used for fishing.

 “Migratory birds are under threat from every corner: they are losing their habitats, subjected to illegal killing and suffering from the impacts of climate change,” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, UNEP, adding that we all have a responsibility to “save such a precious component of the natural world.”

By protecting them, we protect our planet.

Key supporters and partners globally, are adamant that successful migratory bird conservation can only be achieved through a united effort.

Beginning this year, World Migratory Bird Day will be observed annually each May and October, to coincide with the cycle of migration, making it possible to organize events in countries around the world at peak migration times.

“I urge Governments and people everywhere to take concerted conservation action that will help to ensure the birds’ survival – and our own,” the Secretary-General concluded.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1009552

Back to Top

UN forum to coordinate global efforts to address worsening water shortages

The problem has been further complicated by a lack of comprehensive water supply data and monitoring systems which is making it harder to respond to the growing crisis.

We cannot manage what we do not measure,” said Harry Lins, the President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Hydrology.

“And yet the systems and data collection which underpin these vital services to society are under real pressure,” he added, underscoring that informed decision-making must be based on comprehensive facts and figures.

This sums up the key challenge underlying the agency’s HydroConference, taking place in Geneva from 7-9 May, is seeking to address.

It brings together the full gamut of so-called “water stakeholders” – decision makers, meteorological and hydrological services; the private and academic sector; non-governmental organizations, and UN entities – around the same table to coordinate efforts as well as leverage individual knowledge and collective expertise to maximum effect.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said it was important for all actors to cope with the scale of the challenges that lie ahead, citing the two extremes of droughts and floods.

“Effective flood and drought policies can be implemented only with data and models for assessing the frequency and magnitude of extreme events,” he said, adding that the same also holds for other goals related to water and its efficient use; including those in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) explicitly calls for sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Water is also a key component for other Goals including those on eliminating extreme poverty (SDG 1); as wells as Goal 2, to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, as well as Goal 13 on mitigating climate change.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1009062

Back to Top

UN experts urges Poland to ensure unrestricted ‘civic space’ during climate talks

The latest round of United Nations climate change negotiations began on Monday in Bonn, Germany, to further develop the “operating manual” for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to keep temperature rises this century, well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1009002

Back to Top

Hottest April day ever recorded

Amid flash-floods in the East and Horn of Africa – and sand and dust storms in the Arabian Gulf – Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told journalists at UN headquarters in Geneva that this week’s storms in northern India had reportedly left more than 100 dead.

” We’ve never seen a temperature above 50 degrees C in April.” – Clare Nullis (WMO)

What may well be the hottest temperature ever recorded for April, was registered this week in Pakistan, she added. A weather station in the city of Nawabshah registered 50.2 degrees Celsius on Monday; or 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 

“This is April – not June and July – this is April,” she exclaimed. “We don’t normally see temperatures above 50 degrees: in fact, as we’re aware, we’ve never seen a temperature above 50 degrees C in April.”

Moving considerably further south, to another climatic region of the world, A WMO committee of experts also announced on Thursday that a record high temperature recorded for the Antarctic which was set back in in March 2015, still stands.

The record high reading, was under threat of being surpassed by a temperature recorded at a nearby weather station, in the same period of warm weather, and in more or less the same location.

The existing record of 17.5 degrees Celsius was recorded at the Argentine Research Base Esperanza, near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, on 23 March.

The rival reading which, if verified, would have set a new record, was registered a day earlier in the same area, at an automatic weather station established by the Czech Republic on Davies Dome. But polar meteorology experts examined the data closely and made their long-awaited announcement on Friday that the existing record still stands.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1008922

Back to Top

Hottest April day ever recorded

Amid flash-floods in the East and Horn of Africa – and sand and dust storms in the Arabian Gulf – Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told journalists at UN headquarters in Geneva that this week’s storms in northern India had reportedly left more than 100 dead.

” We’ve never seen a temperature above 50 degrees C in April.” – Clare Nullis (WMO)

What may well be the hottest temperature ever recorded for April, was registered this week in Pakistan, she added. A weather station in the city of Nawabshah registered 50.2 degrees Celsius on Monday; or 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 

“This is April – not June and July – this is April,” she exclaimed. “We don’t normally see temperatures above 50 degrees: in fact, as we’re aware, we’ve never seen a temperature above 50 degrees C in April.”

Moving considerably further south, to another climatic region of the world, A WMO committee of experts also announced on Thursday that a record high temperature recorded for the Antarctic which was set back in in March 2015, still stands.

The record high reading, was under threat of being surpassed by a temperature recorded at a nearby weather station, in the same period of warm weather, and in more or less the same location.

The existing record of 17.5 degrees Celsius was recorded at the Argentine Research Base Esperanza, near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, on 23 March.

The rival reading which, if verified, would have set a new record, was registered a day earlier in the same area, at an automatic weather station established by the Czech Republic on Davies Dome. But polar meteorology experts examined the data closely and made their long-awaited announcement on Friday that the existing record still stands.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/05/1008922

Back to Top

Nations begin drafting ‘operating manual’ for climate action at UN conference in Bonn

“We are witnessing the severe impacts of climate change throughout the world”, said the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, at a press conference. 

“Every credible scientific source is telling us that these impacts will only get worse if we do not address climate change and it also tells us that our window of time for addressing it is closing very soon,” she added. 

“We need to dramatically increase our ambitions,” stressed the UNFCCC chief, outlining three priorities.  

First, all stakeholders – including governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, investors and citizens – must accelerate climate action by 2020.  

Second, she said, the international community must complete the Paris Agreement guidelines, or operating manual, to unleash the potential of the accord. 

Third, conditions must be improved to enable countries to be more ambitious in determining their own national policies to slow down global warming.

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) held last November under the leadership of Fiji, nations agreed to accelerate and complete their work to put in place the guidelines – officially known as the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) –  at COP24 in Katowice, Poland next December. 

At this Bonn meeting, which will run through 10 May, Governments will start drafting texts to be finalized at COP24.

Finishing off the operating manual is also necessary to assess whether the world is on track to achieve the goals of the historic Paris Agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions, while pursuing efforts to keep the temperature rise to less than 1.5°C.

Throughout this year, countries will also focus on how they can scale up their climate ambition and implementation in the pre-2020 period. All countries share the view that climate action prior to 2020 is essential.  
 

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/04/1008572

Back to Top

Climate Action Special Envoy Bloomberg pledges $4.5 million to help UN fight climate change in line with the Paris Agreement

The billionaire philanthropist and former Mayor of New York City, pledged last June  to make up the Secretariat’s funding shortfall, caused by US President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The contribution will go towards general operations, including assisting countries to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the accord, agreed by 193 States in the French capital.

In late March, the United States Congress announced that it was cutting funding for this year to the UNFCCC by $4.5 million; from $7.5 million, down to $3 million, according to a media release from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Mr. Bloomberg made the announcement of his contribution on the CBS television programme, ‘Face the Nation’, saying that “America made a commitment and as an American, if the government’s not going to do it, we all have a responsibility.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said via Twitter that he was “very grateful to Michael Bloomberg, not only for his generous support to the United Nations, but also for his global leadership on climate action.” 

The UNFCCC said that with many contributions from signatories to the agreement still outstanding and “a decline in voluntary contributions” the funding was arriving at “a critical time”.

It “strengthens UN Climate Change’s capacity to support developing countries” and allowed more “strategic outreach to promote climate action among stakeholders including cities, regions, business and civil society,” said the Secretariat statement.

The UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said that “when countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise, they also recognized that achieving that goal would take broad-based global climate action in all sectors, public and private.”

“I welcome this generous contribution from Bloomberg Philanthropies as an important, practical recognition of our need to work together and to step up our response to climate change,” she added.

Mr. Bloomberg added that despite the US withdrawl from the Paris Agreement and funding cuts, he was confident that the US would “meet its commitment by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gases by an agreed amount, and if we do it, hopefully other countries will do it as well.”

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/04/1007922

Back to Top

Climate chaos to continue in 2018, UN chief warns; Will the world rise to challenge?

“Scientists are now worried that unless accelerated action is taken by 2020, the Paris goal may become unattainable,” the UN chief told reporters at the world body’s New York Headquarters.

The Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted by world leaders in December 2015, aims to keep global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursues efforts to limit the temperature increase even further, to 1.5 degrees.

I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge.

“I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge,” Mr. Guterres said, noting that 2017 had been filled with climate chaos and 2018 has already brought more of the same.

“Climate change is still moving much faster than we are,” he warned, calling the phenomenon the greatest threat facing humankind. 

Recent information from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank and the International Energy Agency shows the relentless pace of climate change.

For instance, the UN chief said, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 per cent, to a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes. 

 

Moreover, weather-related disasters caused some $320 billion in economic damage, making 2017 the costliest year ever for such losses.

In social as well as economic terms, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was devastating, washing away decades of development in an instant.

In South Asia, major monsoon floods affected 41 million people.

In Africa, severe drought drove nearly 900,000 people from their homes.

Wildfires caused destruction across the world. Arctic sea ice cover in winter is at its lowest level, and the oceans are warmer and more acidic than at any time in recorded history.

“This tsunami of data should create a storm of concern,” Mr. Guterres said, noting that next year he will convene a climate summit in New York aimed at boosting global ambition to meet the level of the climate challenge.

“The Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones. It ended because there were better alternatives. The same applies today to fossil fuels,” he said, stressing the need for a further cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 25 per cent by 2020.

 

Responding to a question about the United States’ decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, Mr. Guterres said he received information from his Special Envoy on climate change and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, that there are expectations that the US – independently of the position of its Administration – might be able to meet the commitments made in Paris as a country due to the positive reactions of the American business community and local authorities.

“All around the world, the role of governments is less and less relevant. The role of the economy, the role of the society is more and more relevant,” he said.
 

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/03/1006271

Back to Top

Earth Hour: UN joins iconic landmarks ‘going dark’ globally with a call to protect environment

As the impact of climate change worsens around the world, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the global community to redouble efforts to help countries respond to climate shocks, especially the most vulnerable.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/03/1005891

Back to Top

Heatwaves, hurricanes, floods: 2017 costliest year ever for extreme weather and climate events, says UN

“The start of 2018 has continued where 2017 left off – with extreme weather claiming lives and destroying livelihoods,” said Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Thursday.

Now in its 25th year, the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2017 drew attention to the high impact that extreme weather had on economic development, food security, health and migration, pointing to estimates showing disaster losses from weather and climate-related events at $320 billion – the largest annual total on record.

The statement confirmed that last year was one of the three warmest on record, and the warmest not influenced by an El Niño event. It also examined other long-term indicators of climate change, such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, sea level rise, shrinking sea ice and ocean heat.

“The Arctic experienced unusually high temperatures, whilst densely populated areas in the northern hemisphere were gripped by bitter cold and damaging winter storms. Australia and Argentina suffered extreme heatwaves, whilst drought continued in Kenya and Somalia, and the South African city of Cape Town struggled with acute water shortages,” Mr. Taalas reflected on 2017.

According to the report, the North Atlantic hurricane season was not only the costliest ever for the United States, but it also eradicated decades of small Caribbean islands’ development gains.

“Since the inaugural Statement on the State of the Global Climate, in 1993, scientific understanding of our complex climate system has progressed rapidly,” Mr. Taalas stated.

“This includes our ability to document the occurrence of extreme weather and climate events, the degree to which they can be attributed to human influences, and the correlation of climate change with epidemics and vector-borne diseases,” he continued.

Compiled by WMO with input from national meteorological services and UN partners, the statement details that 2017 global mean temperatures were about 1.1 °C above pre-industrial temperatures.

The report also provided detailed information to support the international agenda on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change.

“In the past quarter of a century, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have risen from 360 parts per million to more than 400 ppm. They will remain above that level for generations to come, committing our planet to a warmer future, with more weather, climate and water extremes,” Mr. Taalas asserted.

The report revealed that the overall risk of heat-related illness or death has climbed steadily since 1980, with around 30 per cent of the world’s population now living in climatic conditions that deliver potentially deadly temperatures at least 20 days a year.

Additionally, from November 2016 to December 2017, 892,000 drought-related displacements were recorded.

“Now more than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart and water-wise,” concluded Mr. Taalas.

Article source: https://news.un.org/feed/view/en/story/2018/03/1005631

Back to Top
Page 1 of 9412345...102030...Last »

Corporate Office: 364 Summit Avenue, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Phone: 201-489-0419 | Fax: 201-488-2025

For Product & Project Inquiries: Guy Condorelli, VP Business Development
Phone: 201-489-0419 Ext. 2