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World Climate Summit begins with urgent call to action

Glasgow, OCT 31: Accompanied by drastic warnings from the scientific community of an escalating climate crisis, the World Climate Conference (COP26) begins on Sunday at 1000 GMT in the Scottish city of Glasgow.

At the invitation of the United Nations, government representatives from around 200 countries will discuss for a fortnight how humanity can still contain the accelerating global warming to a tolerable level.

About 25,000 people are expected to attend, including thousands of journalists and climate protection activists.

Environmental organizations and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had complained in advance that many countries have not sufficiently tightened their climate plans in the two years since the last UN conference in Madrid and have delayed the necessary rapid phase-out of coal, oil and gas.

This is because the man-made warming of the atmosphere through greenhouse gases is already causing extreme weather to become more frequent. Examples include the recent floods in Germany, the drought in the Sahel zone in Africa and devastating forest fires in California and Russia.

The fight against the climate crisis was also a topic in Rome at the weekend at the summit of the heads of state and government of the G20 group.

Hopes for a strong signal to the climate summit were dampened, however, as there was disagreement on new climate protection pledges.

The Earth has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels; in Germany it is already 1.6 degrees.

In Paris six years ago, the international community agreed to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, or better 1.5 degrees Celsius. So far, however, the plans submitted by the states are far from sufficient.

Other important topics in Glasgow are trade between states with progress in climate protection and the financing of damage and losses caused by global warming, especially in poorer countries.

Thousands of climate activists have arrived in Scotland during the past days, including Swedish activist Greta Thurnberg, who says she hasn’t been officially invited to attend the conference and is scheduled to lead a climate rally in Glasgow.

Thunberg on Sunday defended radical protests for more climate protection, saying they were sometimes necessary to garner attention: “To make clear, as long as no one gets hurt … then I think sometimes you need to anger some people,” she told the BBC.

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