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New Climate Report: Un Chief Demands EU, US Set New Targets

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The European Union, the United States and other wealthy countries need to bring their climate neutrality targets forward to 2040 in order to avert dangerous global warming, United Nations chief António Guterres warned Monday. 

Guterres issued his call to “massively fast-track climate efforts” to mark the release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

The report underscores that in order to limit global warming to the relative safety of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world’s emissions have to reach net zero in the early 2050s and decrease further thereafter. 

At the moment, industrialized high emitters like the EU and the U.S. have set themselves 2050 climate neutrality goals while emerging economies like China or India are aiming for 2060 and 2070, respectively. 

Guterres said that while everyone must speed up climate efforts, wealthy countries — responsible for the bulk of historical emissions — have a responsibility to go faster. 

That means leaders of developed countries “must commit to reaching net zero as close as possible to 2040,” while leaders in emerging economies should aim to do so by 2050, he said.

The U.N. secretary-general on Monday also asked the world’s governments to make a series of commitments to accelerate efforts to reduce emissions. Those include a coal phaseout by 2030 for members of the OECD — and by 2040 for all other countries — and halting all new fossil fuel exploration. 

Some EU countries have already pledged to hit net zero before 2050. Germany and Denmark, for example, are aiming for 2045, while Finland has set a 2035 deadline — the bloc’s most ambitious target. But some countries, like Poland, were already reluctant about the 2050 date. 

Mohammed Chahim, a leading center-left lawmaker on climate action in the European Parliament, said it would be right for wealthier countries to hit net zero sooner.

“I fully agree that developed countries should achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible. Especially when we are asking emerging economies to set climate neutrality targets similar to ours,” he said. 

Green MEP Michael Bloss agreed, saying: “The fact that the EU does not want to be climate neutral until 2050 is far too late.”

European law mandates that Brussels propose a 2040 climate target in the first half of next year.

Source : Politico

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