UN climate talks open in Bonn
Following a cascade of grim reports on the gathering pace of global warming, Fiji's prime minister yesterday appealed for "urgent action" on climate change at UN negotiations in Bonn.
"The need for urgency is obvious," said Frank Bainimarama.
"Our world is in distress from extreme weather events caused by climate change -- destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice and changes to agriculture that threaten our food security," he told the opening plenary of the 12-day talks, over which he will preside.
"Our collective plea for the world is to maintain the course we set in Paris," he added, referring to the 196-nation treaty inked in 2015.
But five months after US President Donald Trump said he would yank the United States out of that pact, diplomats and leaders are still wondering to what extent he will make their jobs more difficult.
The Paris treaty calls for capping global warming at "well under" two degrees Celsius, and 1.5 C if possible.
So far, Earth's average temperature has gone up 1 C compared to pre-industrial levels -- enough to wreak havoc in many parts of the world.
Voluntary national pledges to reduce carbon pollution would still see the world heat up by a blistering 3 C, leaving a critical "emissions gap," and very little time to fill it.