Connect with us

World

Pope leads calls for climate action as rich nations sound alarm

Published

on

October 29, 2021

By Jan Strupczewski, Colin Packham and Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) -Leaders of the 20 richest countries will acknowledge the existential threat of climate change and will take urgent steps to limit global warning, a draft communique seen ahead of the COP26 summit https://www.reuters.com/business/cop shows.

As people around the world prepared to demonstrate their frustration with politicians, Pope Francis https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/pope-francis-cop26-must-offer-concrete-hope-future-generations-2021-10-29 lent his voice to a chorus demanding action, not mere words, from the meeting starting in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.

Advertisement

The Group of 20, whose leaders gather on Saturday and Sunday in Rome https://www.reuters.com/world/climate-set-dominate-g20-summit-ahead-un-conference-2021-10-28 beforehand, will pledge to take urgent steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

While the 2015 Paris Agreement committed signatories to keeping global warming to “well below” 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5 degrees, carbon levels in the atmosphere have since grown.

“We commit to tackle the existential challenge of climate change,” the G20 draft, seen by Reuers, promised.

“We recognise that the impacts of climate change at 1.5 degrees are much lower than at 2 degrees and that immediate action must be taken to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.”

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that the world was rushing headlong towards climate disaster and G20 leaders must do more to help poorer countries.

Advertisement

“Unfortunately, the message to developing countries is essentially this: the cheque is in the mail. On all our climate goals, we have miles to go. And we must pick up the pace,” Guterres said.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/protests-proposals-activists-face-climate-talks-test-2021-09-28, who has berated politicians for 30 years of “blah, blah, blah” is among those who took to the streets of the City of London, the British capital’s financial heart, to demand the world’s biggest financial companies withdraw support for fossil fuel.

U.S. BACK IN THE FRAY

U.S. President Joe Biden will join leaders at the G20 meeting after a setback on Thursday https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-give-update-democrats-spending-plans-before-europe-trip-source-2021-10-28 when the House of Representatives abandoned plans for a vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which would have represented the biggest investment in climate action in U.S. history.

Biden had hoped to reach an agreement before COP26, where he wants to present a message that the United States has resumed the fight against global warming.

Advertisement

The 84-year-old pope will not attend COP26 following surgery earlier this year, but on Friday he led the calls for action at the talks that run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.

The world’s political leaders, he said, must give future generations “concrete hope” that they are taking the radical steps needed.

“These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy,” he said. “Moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/pope-francis-cop26-must-offer-concrete-hope-future-generations-2021-10-29, opportunities that we must not waste.”

The pope had a chance to raise his climate concerns at a meeting with Biden in Rome.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting COP26, said this week the outcome hangs in the balance.

Advertisement

On Friday, Britain sought to align business more closely with net-zero commitments by becoming the first G20 country to make a set of global voluntary disclosure standards on climate-related risks mandatory https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-says-company-climate-disclosures-will-be-mandatory-2022-2021-10-29 for large firms.

But leaders of Europe’s biggest oil and gas companies, among big firms conspicuous by their absence at COP26, said only governments can effectively curb fossil fuel demand.

SURVIVAL

The statement from the G20 countries, which are responsible for an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, said members acknowledged “the key relevance of achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality by 2050”.

But countries on the climate frontline struggling with rising sea levels want steps taken now.

Advertisement

“We need concrete action now. We cannot wait until 2050, it is a matter of our survival,” said Anote Tong, a former president of Kiribati.

UN climate experts say a 2050 deadline is crucial to meet the 1.5 degree limit, but some of the world’s biggest polluters say they cannot reach it, with China, by far the largest carbon emitter, aiming for 2060 https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/china-submits-updated-climate-pledges-united-nations-2021-10-28.

In the G20 draft communique, the 2050 date appears in brackets, indicating it is still subject to negotiation.

Current commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions put the planet on track for an average 2.7C temperature rise this century, a United Nations report https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/un-warns-world-set-27c-rise-todays-emissions-pledges-2021-10-26/#:~:text=LONDON%2C%20Oct%2026%20(Reuters),ahead%20of%20crunch%20climate%20talks said on Tuesday.

Tong has predicted his country of 33 atolls and islands that stand just metres above sea level was likely to become uninhabitable in 30 to 60 years’ time. Pacific Island leaders said they would demand immediate action in Glasgow, with an initial focus on G20 leaders, on sweeping changes.

Advertisement

“A strong commitment and outcome from the G20 Rome Summit will pave the way for an ambitious and successful COP26,” Henry Puna, former Cook Islands prime minister and now secretary of the Pacific Islands Forum, said in a statement.

“We do not have the luxury of time and must join forces urgently and deliver the required ambition at COP26 to safeguard the future of all humankind, and our planet,” Puna said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Costas Pitas, Colin Packham, Jeff Mason, Philip Pullella, Timothy Gardner, Trevor Hunnicutt and Richard Cowan; Writing by Alexander Smith; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Nick Macfie and Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Pope says willing to go to Moscow to meet Orthodox Patriarch

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Monday he was willing to go to Moscow for to meet Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill “brother to brother” in what would be the first trip by a pope to Russia.

The pair’s meeting in Cuba in 2016 was the first by a pope and a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church since the great schism that split Christianity into Eastern and Western branches in 1054.

Advertisement

Both sides have declared a willingness to work towards unity but they are still far apart theologically and over what role the pope would play in an eventually reunited Church.

“We are brothers and we talk straight to each other. We do not dance the minuet,” Francis told reporters aboard his plane returning from a trip to Cyprus and Greece.

“We have to move forward, walking and working towards unity.”

He said he was willing to go Moscow and that a top Russian Orthodox official was expected in Rome next week to decide the time and location of the meeting.

Francis said working out the protocols would be less important than meeting “brother to brother” with Kirill.

Advertisement

The Pope normally travels to countries with a joint invitation from its religious authorities as well as one from the government, meaning that Francis would most likely need an invitation from President Vladimir Putin to visit Russia.

The Russian Orthodox Church, the largest in Christian Orthodoxy, with about 100 million members, is closely aligned with the Kremlin.

Francis said the meeting with Kirill was “on the not too distant horizon”.

He said Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, who is responsible for the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations, would be coming to the Vatican to meet him to discuss where and when the next meeting can take place.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alison Williams)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Yemen Houthis bury their dead as Marib fighting rages

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Adel Al-Khader

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis held military funerals on Monday for 25 fighters killed in battles with a Saudi-led coalition, as fighting shows no sign of abating despite intense international diplomacy to end the seven-year-old conflict.

The funerals took place as fighting has raged in the gas-rich Marib region, while warplanes from the coalition have intensified their bombing of Sanaa, Marib and other areas.

Advertisement

The Houthis have also stepped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia using armed drones and missiles.

An honour guard carried the coffins – draped with flags, flowers and photographs of the dead – with military music through the capital Sanaa. Relatives gathered to mourn their loved ones.

“We are in these days inspired by these martyrs’ pride and dignity and say to them: ‘congratulations! You have preceded us to a paradise as wide as the heavens and earth’,” said Ali Muhyaddin, a relative of one of the dead.

The war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and caused what the United Nations describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

U.N.-led efforts to agree a ceasefire have stalled in the conflict, which is seen largely as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign invasion.

Advertisement

Houthi media showed fighters exchanging heavy artillery fire with coalition forces in Marib on Sunday as warplanes flew overhead. All the 25 fighters buried in Sanaa were killed in Marib, Houthi officials said.

The Houthis have launched a year-long offensive to take Marib, which hosts Yemen’s biggest gas fields. The city is the last stronghold of the internationally recognised government.

Marib is home to 3 million people, including nearly 1 million who fled other parts of Yemen after the Houthis ousted the government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to intervene.

The number of displaced people in camps in the province has risen nearly 10-fold since September, with more than 45,000 people fleeing their homes as Houthi forces press the offensive, the U.N. migration agency IOM said last month.

(Writing by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Putin and Modi discuss trade, humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Alasdair Pal and Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi on Monday, with trade and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan both on the agenda.

Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban earlier this year has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country, which New Delhi and Moscow have both previously said risks destabilising the region.

Advertisement

“The fight against terrorism is also a fight against drug trafficking and organised crime,” Putin said in introductory remarks broadcast by Indian media. “In that regard, we are concerned about developments of the situation in Afghanistan.”

The visit by Putin and several top Russian officials comes amid increasingly strained relations between Russia and the United States, also a key Indian ally.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a deal to supply India with S-400 air defence missile systems was being implemented despite what he said were U.S. efforts to undermine the accord.

India and Russia are expected to cement several trade and defence pacts at the summit.

“The relation between India and Russia is truly a unique and reliable model,” Modi said.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending