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France’s Macron announces 12 non-binding commitments towards a decarbonized economy

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2017

 

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

 

 

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Manhattan-sized glacier breaks off into Greenland seas

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2018

 

Calving of Helheim glacier| Screengrab from Reuters video

A portion of the Helheim Glacier in Greenland broke off, creating multiple icebergs in footage taken by Reuters in June of 2018.

The process of forming icebergs from glaciers is called “calving”, an event that can be caused by warming oceans. The size of the ice that separated from the main glacier was approximately the size of lower Manhattan, according to David Holland, a New York University oceanographer who witnessed the event and has studied Greenland’s glaciers for 12 years.

The mission was part of NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project, a five-year, $30 million effort aimed at improving sea-level rise projections by understanding how warming oceans are melting ice sheets from below – the most ambitious research on the subject to date.

Rising seas threaten low-lying cities, islands, and industries worldwide. But projections for how high and how soon the rise will come vary wildly, in part because scientists lack clarity on how fast warming oceans are melting polar ice sheets. The uncertainty confounds the preparations of governments and businesses and fuels the arguments of climate-change skeptics.

Scientists worry that calving will happen on a disastrous scale in Antarctica, where the much larger Thwaites glacier, for instance, is believed to be a linchpin holding back the West Antarctic ice sheet. — Reuters

 

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Macron says keeping Assad in power would be a ‘disastrous mistake’

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

 

French President Emmanuel Macron. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Macron said on Monday (August 27) keeping Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria would be a “disastrous mistake,” although it was not France’s duty to assign the country’s future leader.

“Who provoked the flow of these millions of refugees?” Macron said during a speech at a Paris conference of ambassadors. “Who massacred his own people? It is not for France to designate Syria’s future leader, no more than any other country. But it is our task and in our interest to make sure that the Syrian people are well in a position to do it.”

The Syrian conflict, which has killed 300,000 people and pushed 5.6 million Syrian refugees towards neighboring countries and Europe, has turned into a war of attrition as the regime tries to contain rebels and extremists.

Assad’s regime has taken back control of most of the territory except for the province of Idlib, the remaining refuge of rebels and the Islamic State.

On Libya, Macron said it was France’s role to move forward a Paris accord to secure reunification in the country, which he said was an “essential factor for the stability of the region.”

In May, the four principal actors in Libya’s political crisis convened in Paris to put in place a constitutional foundation for elections and to adopt electoral laws for the December 10 polls.  — Reuters

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World Cup final stirs memories of 1998 victory in France

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2018

Soccer Football – World Cup – Final – France v Croatia – Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia – July 15, 2018 France coach Didier Deschamps celebrates winning the World Cup with Alphonse Areola and Blaise Matuidi REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

France’s place in the World Cup final on Sunday (July 15) has left many hoping that Les Bleus will be able to recreate the magic that saw them crowned world champions on home soil in 1998.

The 3-0 victory over Brazil on July 12, 1998, remains seared in the memories of a generation of French football fans and made legends of the team which included current France coach Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Thierry Henry.

Crowds watched the match on giant screens in front of the Paris town hall then headed to the 2 kilometer-long Champs Elysees avenue where the party continued into the night.

Interviewed by France Inter radio on Friday morning, member of the winning team Lilian Thuram, who scored two goals against this year’s finalists Croatia in the 1998 semi-final, said he would love to be back on the pitch.

“When I found out that it was going to be France-Croatia in the final I said to myself, ‘Lilian, get ready’,” he joked, adding he would be watching the final in Moscow from the stands.

The ’98 heroes were treated to a victory parade down the Champs Elysees and a reception at the Elysee Presidential Palace with then-president Jacques Chirac and the same star treatment is expected for the 2018 team if they bring home the cup. -Reuters

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