By SYANN THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
UNITED Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told world leaders that the consequences of not lowering greenhouse gas emissions is causing extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts, flood and wildfires.
Secretary General Guterres was addressing the 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Convention when he said that the last five years have been the hottest on record – causing extreme weather patterns all over the world.
“The consequences are already making themselves felt in the form of more extreme weather events and associated disasters, from hurricanes to drought to floods to wildfires. Ice caps are melting. In Greenland alone, 179 billion tonnes of ice melted in July. Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing 70 years ahead of projections. Antarctica is melting three times as fast as a decade ago. Ocean levels are rising quicker than expected, putting some of our biggest and most economically important cities at risk,” he said.
More than 50 world leaders gathered in Madrid, Spain for the 2019 United Nations Climate Change (COP25) conference at the IFEMA convention centre. The Climate Summit is outlining the framework for a new phase of climate action ahead of 2020, when nations would be expected to submit new climate action plans.
As part of the UN’s plans to combat climate change, The Bahamas ratified the Paris Agreement on August 22, 2016 and became a signatory joining 180 countries to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Just this September, The Bahamas faced Hurricane Dorian - what climate experts call one of the most catastrophic backlashes of nature, that emerged due to the issues of climate change.
The secretary general stated that if nations do not aggressively address climate change, they will jeopardise having a world to live in. He said that around the world, nations are at the height of emergency in their combined effort to limit global heating. The next decade, he said is critical and will decide which path, countries will be heading as it relates to climate change.
“Such solidarity and flexibility are what we need in the race to beat the climate emergency. We stand at a critical juncture in our collective efforts to limit dangerous global heating. By the end of the coming decade we will be on one of two paths. One is the path of surrender, where we have sleepwalked past the point of no return, jeopardising the health and safety of everyone on this planet. The other option is the path of hope. A path of resolve, of sustainable solutions. A path where more fossil fuels remain where they should be – in the ground – and where we are on the way to carbon neutrality by 2050,” said the UN secretary general.
The main causes of carbon emissions are from fossil fuels and electricity generation. The UN Climate Change Convention is urging signatories to the Paris Agreement to deal with these areas including providing cleaner sources of energy. Environmentalists recommend households to participate by recycling, replacing light bulbs, using less air conditioning and hot water and using energy efficient products.