The United Nations (UN) Secretary General has told the G7 Summit in France that the globe is facing a climate emergency just as world leaders there agreed to provide logistical and financial support to help fight devastating fires in the Amazon rain forest.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, earlier announced that a 22-million-dollar fund would immediately be made available for Brazil and other regional countries fighting multiple fires on various fronts in the region.
UN Chief, Antonio Guterres, is attempting to rally world leaders ahead of an all-important Climate Change Summit to be held just ahead of the General Assembly in New York in September.
Among the main agenda items for the world leaders gathered in Biarritz, France, was the urgent, even critical need for the earth’s temperature rise to be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius and a carbon neutral world by 2050.
“He pointed out how July was the hottest month on record and how the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest during human life. The SG emphasized that we need more ambition and a stronger commitment, but pointing out how society, particularly the youth are mobilizing ahead of the Climate Change Action Summit that is being held here in New York in September,” says Secretary General’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.
“The SG added that the G7 Summit would’ve been an excellent opportunity for him to appeal for the international communities very strong engagement.”
But it was a vacant chair belonging to United States President, Donald Trump, during the G7 climate roundtable that created a news stir, just as world leaders were discussing how best to help the fire-ravaged Amazon and reduce carbon emissions.
At a press conference and in response to a question on climate change, President Trump said he was not going to lose his country’s energy wealth on dreams and windmills.
“We’re the number one energy producer in the world. Soon it will be by far the number one. It’s tremendous wealth. Liquefied Natural Gas is being sought all over Europe and all over the world and we have more of it than anybody else and I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren’t working too well.”
Guterres also earlier played down the impact of Mr Trump’s intransigence.
“The fact that United States President Donald Trump and Guterres speak is not what matters here. What matters here is to have a strong engagement of the American society and of the American business community and the American local authorities.”
As the rainforest responsible for roughly a fifth of the world’s oxygen, while absorbing some of the globes carbon dioxide emissions, is itself a raging furnace on Monday, with the last five years on track to be the hottest on record, the UN boss is pushing for world leaders to attend his climate action summit in September and bring with them new commitments to raise ambition above what was agreed to in the Paris Climate Change Accord.
And as the G7 Presidency now shifts to the United States where the next summit will be held in 2020, climate change – at least in that forum – could very likely be put on the back burner with President Trump at the helm.