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UN Climate Ambition Summit Falls Flat – ‘World is in danger of missing Paris climate target’

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Lots of ambitious promises of action by 2050, but not a lot of detailed plans.

World is in danger of missing Paris climate target, summit is warned

Minister tells more than 80 world leaders that not enough is being done

Fiona Harvey
Sun 13 Dec 2020 06.30 AEDT

The world is still not on track to fulfil the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the UK’s business secretary Alok Sharma warned, after a summit of more than 70 world leaders on the climate crisis ended with few new commitments on greenhouse gas emissions.

He said progress had been made at the Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UK, the UN and France, marking five years since the Paris accord was adopted. More than 80 world leaders including China’s Xi Jinping, the European commission president Ursula von der Leyen, and Pope Francis urged swifter action on the climate crisis.

But while Xi reaffirmed China’s target of net-zero emissions by 2060, he gave few new details of reductions in the next decade. India also disappointed observers when the prime minister, Narendra Modi, vowed to “exceed expectations” in curbing carbon dioxide by the centenary of Indian independence in 2047, but made no pledge on coal production.

The US was not represented, as Donald Trump’s administration shunned the meeting, but president-elect Joe Biden issued a statement promising to hold a major event on the climate in his first 100 days in office.

Countries including Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi Arabia were excluded from speaking at the summit as they failed to come forward with strong new commitments.

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I don’t think Australia, Brazil, Russia and Saudi missed much. Australia is happy to continue selling coal to Asian climate heroes.