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UN chief says goal to limit global warming on ‘life support’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) is “on life support,” with climate talks in Glasgow so far not reaching any of the UN’s three goals, but he adds that “until the last moment, hope should be maintained.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Guterres says the UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, “are in a crucial moment” and need to accomplish more than securing a weak deal that participating nations agree to support.

“The worst thing would be to reach an agreement at all costs by a minimum common denominator that would not respond to the huge challenges we face,” Guterres says.

That’s because the overarching goal of limiting warming since pre-industrial times to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) by the end of the century “is still on reach but on life support,” Guterres says. The world has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit), leaving less than a degree before the threshold is hit.

“It is the moment to reach agreement by increasing ambition in all areas: mitigation, adaptation and finance in a balanced way,” Guterres says.

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