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UN climate chief wants more action on greenhouse gas

Celeste Saulo, UN climate agency chief
Celeste Saulo, UN climate agency chief
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GENEVA: The world needs to take far more action to slash greenhouse gas emissions, with soaring temperatures a huge concern, the new head of the UN's climate agency warned on Tuesday.


Celeste Saulo said humanity was facing one of its toughest challenges and has the duty to sculpt a brighter future.


"We are far from having enough action in terms of reducing greenhouse gases, and that is really a concern," she said in her first press conference as secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


"Humanity is facing one of its most complex challenges -- climate change," she said.


"Over the next years, we have an opportunity, a duty, and a possibility, to shape the narrative on climate action.


She said adapting to climate change was no longer a choice but a necessity, as is building up the capacity to resist and recover from climate-related disasters.


"Under my leadership, we will fortify early warning systems, enhance data accessibility, and make science and timely, life-saving information accessible to all," said Saulo.


"It will not be an easy road, but if we have strength and determination, we will ride it for our global family and for generations to come."


Saulo wants to make sure everyone on the planet is covered by first-class early warning systems for incoming weather hazards, and improve global greenhouse gas monitoring through integrated space- and surface-based observations.


"If we fail at implementation we would be failing the world. Here is where my strength will be focused," the WMO chief said.


Saulo said 30 countries were particularly prone to climate hazards and needed rapidly-improved early warnings. They are mostly small island states and countries in Africa.


"By the end of 2024, we will show you concrete results at the level of those 30 countries," she pledged.


Saulo said resource mobilisation for climate action was far too slow and bureaucratic.


"Sometimes when they make a decision it takes two to three years to have the money in place. We cannot allow those timescales for action," she said.


The 2015 Paris climate accords aimed to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels -- and 1.5C if possible.


The WMO said last Friday that the 2023 annual average global temperature was 1.45C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) -- the warmest year on record.


The nine hottest individual years on record were the last nine. — AFP


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