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COP26: WMO alerts of more extreme weather events; UN marks Ozone Day

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 16 – COVID-19 did not slow the relentless advance of climate change. Instead, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue at record levels, committing the planet to dangerous future warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned today in its latest United in Science report.

In a video message, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the report shows how off course we are.  “Costly fires, floods and extreme weather events are increasing everywhere”, he said, adding that these changes are just the beginning of worse to come, unless there are immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Secretary-General urged countries to act now to prevent further irreversible damage and underscored that COP26 (the 26th Conference of Parties) this November in Glasgow must mark that turning point.  To that effect, on Monday Guterres and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold an Informal Climate Leaders Roundtable on Climate Action at UN headquarters. The closed doors Roundtable will address the gaps that remain on the actions urgently needed from national governments – especially the G20 – on mitigation, finance and adaptation. The list of the participants it’s still being worked out, the UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said today, but “it will be a fairly representative palette of Member States, from the G20, small islands, African countries”. Some leaders will be here in person, and others will be taking part virtually. A stakeout is expected at the end of the meeting.

Today Guterres marked the World Ozone Day: the fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful rays of the sun is “on the road to recovery”, the UN chief said, crediting the Montreal Protocol, which “began life as a mechanism to protect and heal the ozone layer”, to “have done its job well” tover the course of three decades.

“Together, we can fight the climate crisis. The Montreal Protocol is testament to the positive impact a united effort can have on the world. Today, our ozone layer is healing. But, as this summer’s wildfires remind us, this must only be the start”, remarked on the occasion the Italian Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Maurizio Massari.

Until the Montreal Protocol, old equipment such as building insulation foam, fridge-freezers and other cooling systems, were manufactured using ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which leaked the damaging gas into the atmosphere as equipment deteriorated. This year’s World Ozone Day highlights that the landmark environmental agreement also slows down climate change and helps to boost energy efficiency for cooling products such as freezers, which then also contributes to food security. “The Montreal Protocol is more than just an example of how multilateralism can and should work, it is an active tool to help meet our global vision for sustainable development”, said Guterres. (@OnuItalia)

Alessandra Baldini
Alessandra Baldinihttps://onuitalia.com
Alessandra Baldini e’ stata la prima donna giornalista parlamentare per l’Ansa, poi corrispondente a Washington e responsabile degli uffici Ansa di New York e Londra. Dirige OnuItalia.

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