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UN Chief Says Political Will To Fight Climate Change Has Waned


Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during the opening of the COP24 summit on climate change in Katowice on December 3.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world's political will to fight global climate change has waned since a 2015 conference in Paris that set ambitious goals for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.

Speaking in Katowice, Poland on December 3 at the start of a two-week UN climate summit, Guterres said the realities of global climate change are "worse than expected, but the political will is relatively faded after Paris."

The Paris conference set a goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

But a new study presented at the Katowice summit says U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement is restricting global efforts to cut carbon emissions.

The study by the International Institute of International and European Affairs says Trump's words and deeds are causing "very real damage" to the Paris agreement.

It concludes that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement has created the political cover for other countries to slow down their efforts to reach emissions-reduction targets.

Meanwhile, the World Bank announced on December 3 that it will invest about $200 billion from 2021 to 2025 with the aim of helping to fight global climate change.

Delegates from nearly 200 countries are gathering in the southern Polish city for the UN conference, known officially as COP24.

Under the Paris deal, richer countries responsible for the majority of greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to provide funds that developing countries can use to make their economies more climate-friendly.

The World Bank investment is seen as offering reassurance to countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

"A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it," said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States at COP24.

Much of the money for climate change is for installing renewable energy to replace fossil-fuel usage in poor countries.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, BBC, and dpa
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