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UN chief launches Madrid climate summit: ‘The world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight’

UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke to the press on Sunday ahead of the two-week international climate summit in Madrid. He noted that the world has the technology and scientific means to slow climate change, but what is missing is “political will.”

Delegates from around 200 countries will attend the climate summit in Madrid from December 2 to 13. The intention is to put concrete plans into place to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Guterres “insisted that his message was ‘one of hope, not of despair. Our war against nature must stop and we know that that is possible’.” He continued:

The technologies that are necessary to make this possible are already available. The signals of hope are multiplying. Public opinion is waking up everywhere. Young people are showing remarkable leadership and mobilization.

What is still lacking is political will. Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels. Political will to stop building coal power plants from 2020 onwards. Political will to shift taxation from income to carbon. Taxing pollution instead of people.

But we also see clearly that the world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight. And without them, our goal is unreachable.

We are here to find answers for article 6, not to find excuses.

Article 6 is a referral to a worldwide market for emissions, a key element of the sixth article of the Paris accord.

The UN News said Guterres said  “digging and drilling had to stop, replaced by renewable energy and nature-based solutions to drastically slow climate change.”

China, who  is of particular interest at the climate summit, according to Bloomberg [via Yahoo Finance),  as “though it’s the biggest investor in renewable power, it’s the world’s top carbon polluter and energy consumer. Balancing how it powers its massive economy against what’s asked of it by the rest of the planet is far from settled.”

But the US is far ahead of China when it comes to CO2 per capita measurement. A US congressional delegation will be led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and will consist only of Democrats from the House and the Senate.

Trump is not expected to attend, or send any senior members of his administration. Bloomberg says a small team of career diplomats will be dispatched.

Photo: US Mission to the UN/Eric Bridiers

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.