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Point Of No Return In Sight; UN Chief Warns On COP25 Climate Change Summit Eve

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that "the point of no return" in global warming is in sight.

The benchmarks from the World Meteorological Organization's State of the Climate report indicate that "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and is hurtling towards us," the UN chief said in a news conference on the eve of a two-week international climate conference in Spain's capital Madrid.

"The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. Sea levels are at the highest in human history", he said after revealing the key takeaways from the UN climate agency's report, which is due to be published during COP25.

Guterres said he expects a clear demonstration of increased climate action ambition and commitment out of COP25, which kicks off Monday.

This conference of the parties, or COP25, was due to be held in Chile but was canceled by the government due to weeks of civil unrest.

He called on leaders of all countries to show accountability, responsibility and leadership to end the global climate crisis. "Anything less wold be a betrayal of our entire human family and all generations to come," according to him.

Scientists have provided a road map away from the "point of no return", which will help limit global temperature rise to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels, by 2030.

The UN chief noted that efforts so far have been "utterly inadequate."

While noting that "the signals of hope are multiplying," Guterres blamed lack of political will as the key missing ingredient.

"Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels, or to shift taxation from income to carbon, taxing pollution instead of people."

The Secretary General insisted that digging and drilling must stop, and be replaced by renewable energy and nature-based solutions to drastically slow climate change.

He said at least $100 billion dollars must be made available to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation and to take into account their "legitimate expectations to have the resources necessary to build resilience and for disaster response and recovery."

"We are in a deep hole and we are are still digging. Soon it will be too deep to escape," Guterres told reporters.

The Secretary-General named the head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, as the UN's new Special Envoy for Climate Action.

Describing the Canadian as "a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to act on climate", Guterres said the new envoy would be focusing on ambitious implementation of action, especially shifting markets and mobilizing private finance, towards limiting global warming to the key 1.5 degrees mark.

Carney replaces former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is running for Democratic presidential candidacy.

The United Nations estimates that if current trends persist, the global temperatures can be expected to rise by 3.4 to 3.9°C this century, which would bring wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.

COP25 comes in the background of the United States commencing the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, 28 months after President Donald Trump announced his decision saying the global pact was unfair to the world's largest economy.

The United States is the only one of the 195 signatories to the historic agreement - to keep CO2 emissions to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels - to pull out of it.

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