If Covid-19 doesn’t kill us, climate change will be ‘environmental Armageddon’, world leaders warn UN


If the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t kill us, world leaders warned the United Nations this week, then the climate crisis is “environmental Armageddon”.

The dire warning at the UN General Assembly came from leaders in all corners of the world: In island nations where they are at risk of being submerged by rising sea levels to central Africa where temperature increases are expected to be 1.5 times higher than the world average.

The annual meeting of world leaders is taking place largely virtually this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with the global health criss, ministers pointed to the increasing red alerts from nature.

“We are already seeing a version of environmental Armageddon,” Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said, citing wildfires in the American west and noting that the Greenland ice chunk was larger than a number of island nations.

This was meant to be the year “we took back our planet,” he said. 

Instead, the coronavirus has diverted resources and attention from what could have been the marquee issue at this UN gathering. Meanwhile, the UN global climate summit has been postponed to late 2021.

That hasn’t stopped countries, from slowly sinking island nations to parched African ones, from speaking out.

“In another 75 years, many … members may no longer hold seats at the United Nations if the world continues on its present course,” the Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Countries Group said.Promoted storiesIf You Live In Hebron You Could Be Overpaying for WineFIRSTLEAFby TaboolaSponsored Links

In 2015, the majority of nations signed the Paris Climate Accord with the aim to limit global temperature rise to well below 2C (3.6F) above the pre-industrial age. However climate scientists say that with current global trends, the planet is on track to soar past that.

A new study found that if the world warms another 0.9C (1.6F), the West Antarctic ice sheet will reach a point of irreversible melting. It has enough water to raise global sea levels by 5 metres (16 feet).about:blankabout:blankSkip in 5✕Skip in 5

The Pacific island nation of Palau hasn’t had a single COVID-19 infection, but President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr warns it’s the rising seas that will bring the country down.

“The momentary drop in (carbon) emissions this year cannot be allowed to generate any complacency about global progress,” he said, referring to the sparkling skies that followed lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus around the world. Pollution has crept back up as restrictions ease.

World powers cannot shirk their financial commitments to fighting climate change during the pandemic, Remengesau said, even as economies are battered.

But few pledges have emerged at the UN gathering, aside from China’s announcement that it aims to have carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The pandemic has muted the UN meeting, with world leaders speaking not from the podium in New York but via video from home. That has sapped the urgency of diplomacy and left nations wondering just how many people are listening.