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 to impose sanction after lapse in contaminated baby milk recall
The French government on Thursday warns those responsible after a “major dysfunction” in a recall of contaminated baby milk.
“This is a serious matter. There has been unacceptable behavior, which should be punished,” said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Lactalis, one of the world’s largest producers of dairy products, in December issued a recall of all products made at its factory in Craon, Northwest France, after discovering salmonella bacteria at the site.
But several retailers admitted this week that they had continued to sell the brand’s milk even after the ban.
Supermarket chain Carrefour said Wednesday it had sold 434 boxes of Lactalis baby milk that should have been withdrawn after the ban and so as Systeme-U, Leclerc, and Auchan.
The issue prompted the company to organize a last-minute news conference where the spokesman said that the group had been proactive in organizing a “massive recall”.
“We agreed on this recall. There was no doubt on our side that we had to do this recall. And we decided on our own accord on December 19 on a second recall which happened on December 21 so that we could stop any possible future contamination,” said Lactalis group spokesman Michel Nalet.
Countries affected include Greece in Europe, Morocco, and Sudan in Africa, Peru in South America and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in Asia, underlining the reach of the company and the difficulty in trying to trace all the potentially at-risk powder.
It was only in December, after around 30 infants fed with Lactalis milk had fallen ill, that the health ministry sounded the alarm.
The cases of infection were linked to products called Picot SL, Pepti Junior 1, Milumel Bio 1 and Picot Riz.
Lactalis could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others. — Reuters
Australian bushfires destroy buildings during heatwave
Bushfires destroyed buildings and threatened lives as a heatwave hit three Australian states with temperatures in excess of 40 degree Celsius on Saturday.
Several structures were burning on Saturday afternoon as a fire raged out of control on the outskirts of Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne.
“The warnings are being issued and people to access those warnings and to continue to access those warnings is the important thing, because it’s a dynamic environment and obviously we are providing timely, relevant and tailored information to allow community members to make decisions about their safety. So, the important thing is to stay attuned to the systems where the warnings are being published,” said Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley.
More than 50 fires were reported across the state and power was lost to 400 homes.
Emergency warnings were issued in both Victoria and the state of South Australia where another fire in the rural southeast forced residents to seek shelter in buildings because the roads were too dangerous to evacuate.
Meanwhile, Sydney has experienced its hottest weather in 79 years with temperatures in the region hitting as high as 47.3-degree Celsius.
Severe fire warnings were issued for the greater Sydney area and total fire bans were put in place across the city.
About 7,000 properties across New SouthWales were left without electricity, partly because of the heat.
Experts have warned that land and sea temperatures have been affected by climate change, leading to more extreme weather conditions.
Monday’s forecast for Sydney, perhaps unsurprisingly, is for more hot weather – and some rain later in the day. — Reuters
British PM, locals, condemn calls for beggars to be removed before UK royal wedding
“Yes, I don’t agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made. I think it is important that we, councils, work hard to ensure that they are proving accommodation for those people who are homeless, and where there are issues of people aggressively begging on the streets then it’s important that councils work with the police to deal with that aggressive bullying,” said Britain Prime Minister Theresa May.
This was the comment of British Prime Minister Theresa May on the statement of Simon Dudley, the leader of the royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, on Twitter where he said there had been an “epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy” in the town and said he wanted police “to focus on dealing with this before the #royalwedding in May.”
His remarks drew criticism from Prime Minister Theresa May and even from locals.
“I don’t know any aggressive beggars. I don’t know one person who is an aggressive beggar. There is a couple of people that ask for money, but they are homeless people at the end of the day,” said Stuart, a homeless man in Windsor.
“No one has said anything to us, mentioned. But of course, if you see people are lying on the floor, wherever they are, not just Windsor, all around London, it’s a big big problem, big issue. It has to be dealt with in a humane way,” said Rooney.
These were reactions on the idea that beggars need to be cleared by police from the streets of Windsor before the wedding of Prince Harry to girlfriend Meghan Markle because their “detritus” is presenting the picturesque English town in a poor light, the local council leader has said.
Windsor, the oldest inhabited castle in the world which has been a home of British monarchs for almost 1,000 years, attracts 1.3 million visitors every year, while many also visit the town to watch the regular “changing the guard”. — Reuters