FILE PHOTO: First day of the European Union summit in Brussels

UN head says climate plans ‘falling woefully short,’ urges action to avoid catastrophe

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the United Nations on Monday urged world leaders to take “credible” new action to curb climate change, warning that efforts so far fall short of what’s needed to avert catastrophe.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Paris climate accord’s goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) “is gasping for breath” as the gap between actual greenhouse gas emissions and the amount allowing the target to be met keeps growing.

Guterres blamed governments for this failure, saying “national climate plans are falling woefully short,” though he acknowledged some steps have been taken to shift the global economy away from the fossil fuel use that is largely to blame for heating up the planet.

The U.N. chief said he wants “all countries (to) make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal and ensure support for those who need it.”
Guterres said he would not relent in pushing governments to confront “this existential threat” and planned to convene a gathering of leaders in September to discuss tackling climate change.

The invitation would be open to governments, businesses and civil society, he said. “The price of entry is non-negotiable — credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions that will move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis.”

“It will be a no-nonsense summit,” Guterres said, adding: “There will be no room for back-sliders, greenwashers, blame-shifters or repackaging of announcements of previous years.”

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