Thursday 26 April 2018

'Vulnerable' Arctic countries call ambitious deal at UN climate summit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he walks off stage after speaking at the Mashable/UN Foundation
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he walks off stage after speaking at the Mashable/UN Foundation "Earth to Paris" Summit REUTERS/Mendel Ngan/Pool

Paul Melia Environment Editor in Paris

Arctic countries already hit with melting ice caps and loss of wildlife have called for an ambitious deal at the UN climate summit.

The governments of Nunavut (Canada), Greenland (Denmark) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) has asked negotiators at the released 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to ensure that emissions are cut and average temperature rises limited to no more than 2C.

The arctic is experiencing acute impacts related to climate change including permafrost thaw, increases in temperatures, loss of glacier and sea ice and disruptions to wildlife.

Even slight changes in the temperature cause major disruptions in the way that northern communities live and work, they warned.

“We are here to deliver an urgent message on behalf of the people of the north,” Nunavut premier Peter Taptuna said.

“When it comes to climate change, Nunavut is one of the most vulnerable areas on earth. We therefore stand before you today, with the Government of Greenland and the Inuit Circumpolar Council, asking the United Nations to reach an agreement that accounts for the impacts of climate change on the arctic.”

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 cities across the world have united to launch a five-year vision to take climate action.

Cities are responsible for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions, but this is set to increase with projections suggesting that 60pc of the world's population will live in built-up urban areas by 2030, rising to 70pc by 2050.

The 2,200 cities include four Irish local authorities – Cork County Council, Waterford City and County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dublin City Council.

Among the measures they have already agreed include reducing energy consumption and cutting emissions.

The councils are members of NAZCA, the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate A ction, which was established last year to help drive a climate deal in Paris.

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