Katowice, Poland: The World Bank on Monday pledged to commit as much as USD 200 billion from 2021 to 2025 towards fighting the threat of climate change during the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) summit here. Addressing the event, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim highlighted the plight of the world’s smallest and financially weak countries in the face of climate change, saying that they will bear the brunt of the impacts from climate change, CNN reported.
He further called upon the international community to follow its footsteps and support the smaller countries. “We are pushing ourselves to do more and to go faster on climate and we call on the global community to do the same. This is about putting countries and communities in charge of building a safer, more climate-resilient future,” Kim said.
The meeting, which is being held from December 3 to 14, is taking place amidst calls for world leaders to implement norms to curb the rising carbon dioxide levels and maintain temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had in October issued a warning that the Earth could reach those temperature levels by 2030 if the current trend of greenhouse emissions continues.
In order to prevent that, by 2030, worldwide CO2 emissions would have to fall by 45 per cent from the 2010 levels and have to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. However, the UN Emissions Gap Report 2018 indicated last week that, “global greenhouse gas emissions,” which reached a record high in 2017, “show no signs of peaking.” “While there has been steady progress in the number of countries that have peaked their GHG emissions or have pledged to do so in the future, the 49 countries that have so far done so, and the 36% share of global emissions they represent, is not large enough to enable the world’s emissions to peak in the near term,” the report stated.
A report published by the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that the last four years have been the hottest on record. Addressing the COP 24, nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, who was representing “the people”, said, “Right now we’re facing a man-made disaster on a global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years, climate change.” “I am only here to represent the voice of the people to deliver our collective thoughts, concerns, ideas and suggestions. The people have spoken. Leaders of the world you must lead. If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon,” he added.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted some of the key areas where efforts need to be directed. “Climate change is running faster than we are and we must catch up sooner rather than later before it is too late. We need a complete transformation of our global energy economy, as well as how we manage land and forest resources. We need to embrace low-carbon, climate-resilient sustainable development,” the UN chief said.
Remarking on the United State’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Hollywood star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that while the President Donald Trump-led administration is a “little bit backwards”, the US’ efforts to lower emission levels are led by the city and state-level governments.
“Every time you talk about America, you’re right when you say that our leadership in Washington is a little bit backwards. But you’re wrong when you say that America dropped out of the Paris agreement. Because if you look a little bit beyond Washington you will see that it is the states and the cities, it’s local governments, that can draw 70 per cent of our emissions. And you will see all the extraordinary work that is going on a state and city level in America,” Arnold said.
During the recently concluded G20 Summit in Argentina, a number of world leaders agreed on a statement, which included a segment on the climate issue. The statement said that the Paris climate agreement “is irreversible and commit to its full implementation, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. We will continue to tackle climate change while promoting sustainable development and economic growth”.
However, the United States stressed its decision to withdraw from the pact. A clause of the statement stated that the US, “reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment”.