The United Nations secretary-general urged countries to make compromises in tackling global warming amid concern that the U.N. conference on the issue could end without a substantial agreement.
In his second dramatic appeal at the talks in Poland in the space of 10 days, Antonio Guterres told ministers and senior diplomats from almost 200 countries they should consider the fate of future generations.
“This is the time for political compromises to be reached,” he said. “This means sacrifices, but it will benefit us all collectively.”
Meanwhile, Jean-Pascal Ypersele, a respected researcher as well as former deputy chair of a U.N.-backed panel on climate change, warned top industrialized nations against disagreeing with a report detailing the dangers of climate change, adding that “so-called superpower” cannot argue with science.
Ypersele, who is also a professor at Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, told The Associated Press that countries should do everything possible to work towards the report’s goal of reining in carbon emissions by 2030, at which point scientists say damage to the climate will be irreversible unless urgent action has been taken.
“Nobody, even the so-called superpowers, can negotiate with the laws of physics,” Ypersele told the AP.
Ypersele also said that the 2030 target for controlling carbon emissions and dramatically reducing the use of fossil fuels was non-negotiable.
“It’s a question of survival for a large part of humanity, and many other species,” he said.
The Trump administration last year announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement signed under the Obama administration, which called on signatories to reduce carbon emissions and expand the use of renewable fuels.
The U.S. joined other oil-producing nations over the weekend in refusing to “welcome” the landmark study from the U.N.’s climate panel, while releasing a statement saying that the report’s warnings had been “noted.”
“The United States was willing to note the report and express appreciation to the scientists who developed it, but not to welcome it, as that would denote endorsement of the report,” the State Department said in a statement.