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Big nations must expand further to limit climate change – US Envoy Kerry

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MILAN, Oct. 2 (Reuters) – The world’s major economies must “strive to do more” at UN climate talks next month to show they really want to tackle global warming, said on Saturday US climate envoy John Kerry.

The COP26 conference in Glasgow aims to secure more ambitious climate action from the nearly 200 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2.0 degrees Celsius – and to 1, 5 degree of preference – above pre-industrial levels.

“We now have about 55% of global GDP (gross domestic product) committed to undertaking tracks that will keep the temperature at 1.5 degrees. There are other countries now sharpening their pencils,” Kerry said during a pre-COP26 meeting in Milan, Italy.

“Well below 2.0 degrees Celsius means well below… common sense is not 1.9, 1.8 or 1.7 (degrees),” he added.

New energy and funding pledges from the United States and China have raised hopes among negotiators, but many G20 countries – including major polluters such as China and India – have failed yet announced updates to their short-term climate action plans.

Young climate activists, including Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, who was in Milan this week, called on policymakers to match words with deeds and spend billions of dollars to wean the world off fossil fuels. Read more

They also called for a transparent climate finance system and more grants to help those most exposed to the impact of climate change.

Rich countries that pledged ten years ago to mobilize $ 100 billion a year to help vulnerable countries adapt and switch to cleaner energy have yet to meet their 2020 target.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans speaks at a press conference during the pre-COP26 climate meeting in Milan, Italy, October 2, 2021. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane

Kerry said he expected donors to meet the $ 100 billion pledge, but added that a post-2025 funding plan “focusing not only on billions, but on trillions ”would be needed.

“(The) private sector is needed for this… We will be announcing a specific agenda item in conjunction with the World Economic Forum,” he said, without giving further details.

EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans echoed Kerry’s call for sweeping and swift action.

“We are fighting for the survival of humanity,” he told reporters.

Asked about coal mining, Timmermans said the industry would gradually disappear even without specific climate action, as it would ultimately become economically unsustainable.

“I would be very surprised if there is still a significant mining industry after 2040,” he said.

China and India, the world’s two largest coal producers, still depend on coal-fired power plants for a large part of their electricity supply.

“We are in a very constructive dialogue with India and China (…) both countries wish to participate in the success,” added Timmermans.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes Writing by Agnieszka Flak Editing by Helen Popper

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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