US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has called on American diplomats;around the world to challenge nations whose actions set back efforts to address climate change.
The Secretary of State made this remark in his first address on climate;change in Annapolis, Maryland, ahead of a U.S.-hosted virtual summit this week.
US President, Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to discuss new measures they’ll take to strengthen commitments;they made to reduce emissions under the Paris climate agreement. This is in a bid to signal that he is prioritizing the issue and trying to rally global action;early in his administration.
In his remarks, Blinken revealed that US “diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action – or inaction – is setting the world back.
“When countries continue to rely on coal for a significant amount of their energy,;or invest in new coal factories, or allow for massive deforestation,;they will hear from the United States and our partners about how harmful these actions are.”
Blinken added that the Biden administration would put the climate crisis at the center of its foreign policy. However, he noted, that this would not mean treating countries’ progress on climate “as a chip they can use to excuse bad behavior.”
He did not refer to a specific country, but human rights activists have expressed concerns that the administration’s desire to cooperate with China on reducing emissions could mean concerns over China’s human right violations are overlooked.
Blinken also revealed that the US would also increase the amount of aid it sends to the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, such as low-lying island nations.
World on the verge of climate crisis ‘abyss’- UN
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) has warned that time is fast running out to tackle the climate crisis, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic failed to put the brakes on “relentless” climate change.
According to a report by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), lockdown restrictions linked to the global coronavirus pandemic also delayed crucial assistance in some regions.
Addressing a press conference as he unveiled WMO’s report, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres intimated that “we are on the verge of the abyss”.
He stressed that the year 2021 must be the year of action for protecting people against the “disastrous” effects of climate change.
“This is truly a pivotal year for humanity’s future. And this report shows we have no time to waste, climate disruption is here.
“This is the year for action. Countries need to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. They need to act now to protect people against the disastrous effects of climate change”.
WMO statistics revealed that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. The past six years, including 2020, have been the six warmest on record.
Guterres further urged countries to “end our war on nature”, calling for “bold action on mitigation and adaptation”.
This year is pivotal. At the United Nations climate conference, COP26, in November, we need to demonstrate that we are taking and planning bold action on mitigation and adaptation”.
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