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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Fight for science underpins key UN climate report

Observers say the IPCC meeting has become increasingly politicized as the stakes for curbing global warming grow.

Fight for science underpins key UN climate reportFile photo of people walking in flood waters after torrential rains in Hadja, Nigeria. (Associated Press)

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The publication of a major new UN report on climate change has been hampered by a battle between rich and developing nations over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.

The report by hundreds of the world’s top scientists was supposed to be approved by a government delegation at the end of a week-long meeting in the Swiss town of Interlaken on Friday.

The deadline was repeatedly extended as officials from China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and major powers including the United Nations and the European Union spent the weekend arguing over the wording of key phrases in the text.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report aims to summarize the plethora of global warming studies produced since the 2015 Paris climate accord.

A summary of the report was approved early Sunday, but three sources close to the negotiations told The Associated Press that agreement on the main text may need to be postponed to a later meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the talks.

The unusual process of getting countries to sign off on the scientific report is designed to ensure that governments accept its findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.

At the start of the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on delegates to provide “cold, hard facts” to convey the message that the world is on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to what it is today ) time is running out. pre-industrial era.

While average global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, Guterres insisted the 1.5-degree target limit was still possible “with rapid and deep emissions reductions across all sectors of the global economy”.

Observers say the IPCC meeting has become increasingly politicized as the stakes for curbing global warming mount, mirroring the annual U.N. climate talks that usually take place at the end of the year.

One of the thorniest issues at the meeting will be how to define which countries are classified as vulnerable developing countries, making them eligible to receive cash from the “loss and damage” fund agreed at the last U.N. climate talks in Egypt. Delegates are still debating how much greenhouse gas emissions will need to be reduced in the coming years, and how artificial or natural carbon removal efforts will factor into the equation.

As the country that has pumped the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrialization, the United States strongly rejects the notion that it bears historical responsibility for climate change.

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