UN Climate Action Summit 2019 ends in disappointment with few countries making progress on commitment to Paris Climate Accord

Associated Press

Environmental experts say there was more talk than action from world leaders, while teen climate activist Greta Thunberg told them, “you are failing us”

Associated Press |

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg stares daggers at climate denier US President Donald Trump

World leaders gathered in New York for the Climate Action Summit, and promised on Tuesday to do more to cut carbon emissions, but very few were able to show that they were already making progress.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held the summit to remind countries of their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The meeting began with a speech from teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who scolded leaders for their lack of action.

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg makes powerful speech at the UN's Climate Action Summit

“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all you can talk about is money,” Thunberg said. “You are failing us.”

Climate experts agreed, saying the proposals put forward by leaders were not ambitious enough.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg stares daggers at climate denier US President Donald Trump
Photo: Reuters

Of the countries who failed to make an impact, the US stood out the most. It was criticised for failing to even engage with the subject of climate change. US President Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and wants to pull out of the Paris Accord, stayed at the summit for only 15 minutes, and then left.

Trump also mocked Thunberg on Twitter after her speech, writing: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

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Countries who showed more willing include Finland and Germany, who promised to ban coal within a decade. Several countries also said they planned to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The Marshall Islands, a tiny nation in the Pacific, presented its plans to cut carbon emission so that it would exactly meet the target set in the Paris Accord. Its president, Hilda Heine, challenged other countries to up their game.

“We are now calling on others to join us,” Heine said.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge