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U.N. Climate Chief Calls for Action Plan at COP24 Summit

The U.N.'s climate chief on Tuesday said the COP24 summit in Poland must produce a detailed program to move the Paris climate accord forward. 

World leaders have been trying to breathe new life into the Paris Agreement amid backsliding from several nations over commitments made when it was signed in December 2015.

"Success at COP24 means finalizing the Paris Agreement Work Program -- period," said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of U.N. Climate Change.

The Work Program is an operating manual for the 195-nation agreement, which is to take effect in 2020 and calls for limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Experts warn that the global measure is on track to surpass three degrees by 2100.

"We no longer have the luxury of time, nor do we have the luxury of endless negotiations," Espinosa warned ahead of a U.N. climate summit next month in the Polish city of Katowice.

She spoke at a pre-summit meeting attended by representatives of 35 countries in the southern Polish city of Krakow.

Espinosa termed limiting climate change "one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced.

"But, we’re moving in the wrong direction. The International Energy Agency tells us that energy sector carbon emissions will rise again in 2018, after hitting record levels in 2017," she added. 

The energy sector accounts for 80 percent of global CO2 emissions, with most of the rest caused by deforestation and agriculture, so its efficiency is key to curbing rising temperatures.

With a rise of just one degree Celsius so far, the Earth has witnessed a surge of extreme weather, including heatwaves, droughts, floods and deadly storm surges made worse by rising seas.

Despite a stream of announcements and summits, little real progress has been made however.

In June 2017, President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out of the agreement in November 2020, and support from several other countries has faded.

Espinosa warned that "by 2030, the loss of productivity caused by a hotter world could cost the global economy $2 trillion" (1.7 trillion euros).

Climate change could also displace 50 - 200 million people by 2050, she added.

Source: Agence France Presse


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