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U.N. chief, UK PM convene leaders on climate change By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime Minster, greets Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary General, before they meet at a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit, Carbis Bay (Cornwall, UK), June 12th, 2021. Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS

By Michelle Nichols and Valerie Volcovici

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – With less than six weeks to go before world leaders convene for a major climate summit in Glasgow, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a roundtable of world leaders on Monday to address major gaps on emissions targets and climate finance.

Selwin Hart (special advisor on climate change to Guterres) will chair the closed-door meeting that will take place on the sidelines the U.N. General Assembly’s annual high-level weekly. 

Last week, he said to reporters that “the alarm bell must be rung.” These countries have not been able to address the gap in financing, adaptation, and mitigation.

Roundtable discussions are intended to help ensure success at the U.N. Climate Conference, which will be held in Glasgow from October 31 through November 12. Recent reports indicate that major economies have fallen behind on climate finance and emission reduction targets.

Hart refused to identify the participating countries, but 35 to 40 countries had said that they would attend Friday’s U.N. climate conference.

A U.N. analysis of country pledges under the Paris climate agreement released on Friday said that under current national pledges, global emissions would be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45% reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous climate change.

Another report released on Friday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said that rich countries likely missed a goal to contribute $100 billion last year to helping developing nations deal with climate change after increasing funding by less than 2% in 2019.

U.N. hopes to receive updates from the top economies regarding how they plan on meeting their targets for reducing emissions and the details of how to achieve the $100Billion goal.

Hart said Guterres would also push donor countries as well as multilateral development banks for progress towards achieving his goal of increasing the proportion of financing dedicated to adapting to climate change from 21% to 50%.

Hart stated that the amount of current financing for adaptation amounts to $16.7 billion per year. This is a small fraction of current adaptation costs, which are estimated at around $70 billion annually.

Johnson, COP26’s host, stated at a gathering of major economies last Friday that only the richest nations in the world “must take serious steps to fill the $100 billion gap that the developing world has.”

Guterres said last week to Reuters that there is a risk of the upcoming summit on climate change failing.

Guterres stated that COP26 could not be a success, in an interview with Reuters at the U.N. Headquarters in New York. There is still mistrust between the developed and the developing worlds, and it needs to be overcome.

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