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Nations endorse key UN science report on climate change


BERLIN — Governments gave their blessing to a major new UN report on climate change on Sunday, after approval was delayed by a battle between rich and developing countries over emissions targets and the financial assistance to vulnerable nations.

The report by hundreds of the world’s top scientists was due to be endorsed by government delegations on Friday at the end of a week-long meeting in the Swiss city of Interlaken.

The closing hammer was pushed back repeatedly as officials from major nations including China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the United States and the European Union haggled over the weekend over the formulation of the key phrases of the text.

The report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change caps a series that digests vast amounts of research on global warming compiled since the Paris climate agreement in 2015.

A summary of the report was approved early on Sunday, but agreement on the main text dragged on for several hours, with some observers fearing it might have to be postponed.

The UN plans to release the report at a press conference early Monday afternoon.

The unusual process of getting countries to approve a scientific report is intended to ensure that governments accept its findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.

At the start of the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on delegates to provide “cold, hard facts” to drive home the message that there is little time left for the world to limit global warming. 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times.

While average global temperatures have already risen by 1.1 Celsius since the 19th century, Guterrres insisted that the 1.5 degree target limit remains possible “with rapid and deep reductions in emissions across all climate sectors. the world economy”.

Observers said IPCC meetings are becoming more politicized as the stakes for curbing global warming rise, mirroring the annual UN climate talks that usually take place at the end of the year.

One of the thorniest questions of the current meeting was how to define which nations are considered vulnerable developing countries, making them eligible for money from a “loss and damage” fund agreed in the last negotiations. of the UN on the climate in Egypt. Delegates also wrangled over numbers on how much greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut over the next few years and how to include man-made or natural carbon removal efforts in the equations.

As the country that has released the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrialization, the United States has pushed hard against the notion of historical responsibility for climate change.

An earlier version of this story corrected an erroneous reference to the United Nations, when it should have been the United States, in the third paragraph.

washingtonpost Gt

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