PARIS – France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned on Tuesday the international community that it was losing the battle against global warming and called on world leaders to take concrete action.
Macron hosted the One Planet Summit in Paris, an event marking the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement on mitigating global warming that brought together dozens of heads of state and government, as well as leaders in the science and technology industries.
“We are losing the battle, we should not be mistaken,” Macron told the arena packed with world delegates, adding that there was no longer an excuse not to heed the scientific warnings about climate change.
He urged those due to speak at the conference to set out tangible plans to combat climate change.
“We need to set in place concrete actions that will change our countries, our societies, our economies, so that our children, and maybe us too, can choose our future, choose our planet, and not increase global warming, the disappearance of vulnerable countries and profound transformations,” Macron added.
All countries have signed the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit temperature rises to 1.5 C (34.7 F) above preindustrial levels by cutting greenhouse emissions and investing in green energy, although the United States under President Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw from the deal in 2020.
Macron made an allusion to that, by thanking those local and state leaders in the US who have vowed to uphold the Agreement despite its rejection at a federal level.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took the stage next and reiterated the stark warnings issued by the French president.
“We are not yet winning the war on climate change. And that is the defining challenge of our times,” he said, adding: “Climate change is moving much faster than we are.”
The Portuguese politician said that embracing science and technology was key to curbing global warming, adding that countries that fail to engage in green economics would face a dark future.
Earlier, the European Union announced a 10-point initiative called Action Plan for the Planet, which included a nine-billion-euro ($10.6-billion) increase in investments in cities, energy and sustainable agriculture in Africa and the European Union neighborhood region by 2020.
Among the leaders present at the summit were leaders in private enterprise, such as Bill Gates, founder of software giant Microsoft, and Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group.