Ahead of the much-awaited September climate summit, UN leaders appealed to countries to urgently develop a policy to step up climate targets by 2020 and come to New York with a concrete action plan to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Recently, during a visit to New Zealand, UN Secretary-General warned that the world was ‘not on track’ to limiting a temperature rise to 1.5°C. Earlier, Guterres said countries should not build new coal plants after 2020. “If you don’t hang on to that goal, what you’ll achieve is a total disaster,” he said.
Australian islanders file landmark climate change complaint against government
Indigenous people living in low-lying islands off the Australian coast filed a landmark complaint against the country’s government, alleging climate inaction. The eight Torres Strait Islanders complained to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, claiming that rising sea levels were destroying their lives. The islanders from over 270 islands alleged that their homes, burial grounds and cultural sites could disappear underwater in their lifetimes, CNN reported.
France’s new energy law delays nuclear reduction by a decade
At the end of April, the French government presented a draft ‘energy transition law’, which aims to cut down the country’s carbon emissions by a factor of more than six by 2050 as compared to 1990. This is much higher than the reduction target by a factor of four envisaged in the 2015 energy law put forth by President Emmanuel Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande. While the ambitious plan is definitely noteworthy, the new law also delays the 2015 law’s pledge to cut France’s nuclear energy share to 50% by 2025 from the current 75%. The Macron government has pushed the deadline for this target to 2035. This comes in the midst of the ‘yellow vests’ protests against Macron.
After UK, Ireland declares climate emergency
The Republic of Ireland has become the second country to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, a week after the UK parliament had declared a climate emergency on May 1. The amendment to the Climate Action report prepared by citizens’ assembly was accepted without a vote. Experts say under climate emergency, many areas in Ireland want to be, very ambitiously, carbon-neutral by 2030. Scotland is also setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.
New Zealand unveils ambitious plan to go carbon neutral by 2050
New Zealand aims to be mostly carbon-neutral by 2050. The country proposed two separate targets to reduce biological methane (cattle and sheep) and other greenhouse gas emissions (transport, power). The proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill sets a target for a 10% cut in biological methane emissions by 2030 and aims for a provisional reduction of carbon emissions ranging from 24% to 47% by 2050.