At the end of a climate summit organized by France two years after the Paris accord was signed, French President Emmanuel Macron announced 12 non-binding commitments, from a $300 million pledge to fight desertification to accelerating the transition towards a decarbonized economy.
“Today, we have begun to recapture the ground a bit in this battlefield, because concrete decisions were taken, because we were rightly pushed to take these commitments,” said Macron.
Public and private financial institutions pledged to channel more funds to spur the transition to a green economy and investors said they would pressure corporate giants to shift towards more ecologically friendly strategies. Macron said companies who were not “in the club” must be “named and shamed.
Among the commitments, more than 200 institutional investors with $26 trillion in assets under management said on Tuesday they would step up pressure on the world’s biggest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to combat climate change.
“This is not a choice between our planet and prosperity. We choose both. Actually, we can ensure that we are protecting the planet, by investing in the technology of the future,” said UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Let’s be aware and take concrete actions. We all have our own way of stopping climate change, but only if we unite our actions, there will be a better place for all, for the polar bears and for us. Let’s make the planet great again. Thank you,” said Eva, an American girl living in Paris.
Meanwhile, the World Bank announced that it would no longer finance upstream oil and gas projects after 2019, apart from certain gas projects in the poorest countries in exceptional circumstances, drawing praise from environmental groups.
“To ensure that we are aligned with our support to their countries to meet their Paris goals, today we are announcing that the World Bank group will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
However, the summit leaves no headline promise that will likely reassure poor nations on the sharp end of climate change that they will be better able to cope. — Reuters
France’s ban on full-body Islamic veil violates human rights – U.N. rights panel
FILE PHOTO: Niqab-clad woman | REUTERS
The U.N. Human Rights Committee said on Tuesday (October 23) that France’s ban on the niqab, the full-body Islamic veil, was a violation of human rights and ordered it to review the legislation.
The committee’s findings come after complaints by two French women convicted in 2012 under a 2010 law stipulating that “No one may, in a public space, wear any article of clothing intended to conceal the face.”
One of the members of the Human Rights Committee, Ilze Brands-Kehris told Reuters the law violated 2 articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: freedom of religion and non-discrimination.
The Committee found that the ban disproportionately harmed their right to manifest their religious beliefs and could lead to them being confined at home and marginalized, Brands-Kehris said.
France had failed to make the case for its ban, the committee said and gave it 180 days to report back to say what actions it had taken.
Decisions taken by the committee, a panel of independent experts who oversee compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), are not legally binding, but under an optional protocol of the treaty, France has an international legal obligation to comply. — Reuters
Climate disasters cause global economic losses to soar, UN says
Dried out crops after three years of drought linked to El Niño in San Agustin Acasaguastlan, El Progreso Department, Guatemala | REUTERS
From 1998 to 2017 direct economic losses from natural disasters totaled $2.9 trillion, of which 77 percent was due to extreme weather that is intensifying as the world warms, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said on Wednesday (October 10).
That compares with overall losses of $1.3 trillion from 1978 to 1997, 68 percent of that accounted for by climate and weather hazards, including storms, floods, and droughts.
On Monday, climate scientists warned that if global average temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, it would lead to more suffering — especially among the world’s poorest.
Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather, and disasters will continue to set back sustainable development, the UNISDR report warned.
In the past two decades, 1.3 million people were killed and 4.4 billion were injured, left homeless, displaced or required emergency help.
Although rich countries shoulder the highest absolute economic losses, the report noted the disproportionate impact of disasters on low and middle-income countries with people in poorer nations seven times more likely to be killed by a disaster than in wealthier ones. — Reuters