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  • » 12/13/2017, 15.39

    UNITED NATIONS

    One Planet summit: World Bank to stop financing gas and oil



    French President Macron, who hosted the summit, said "We are losing the battle" against global warming. The temperature should rise by 3.5 degrees Celsius. A new space observatory is planned. Climate change is the cause of increasingly frequent and severe floods, droughts, storms and heat waves.

    Paris (AsiaNews/Agencies) – World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim said that his organisation will stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction starting in 2019. Mr Yong made the announcement yesterday at the One Planet climate summit in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

    For Mr Kim, it is time for WBG to set a good example by aligning “its support to countries to meet their Paris Agreement goals”. However, “In exceptional circumstances,” the WBG may still consider funding more polluting sectors in the case of the poorest countries. In 2016, 5 per cent of WBG’s investments went into the coal sector.

    The climate summit was convened by the United Nations and hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. In his address, the French warned that "We are losing the battle" against global warming.

     In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Macron said that the world is moving towards a 3.5 Celsius rise, which is "very far from the objective set by the Paris agreement to limit the temperature increase below the 2 degrees threshold."

    Other announcements were made during the summit, including the creation of a space observatory for climate research, a five-year initiative by 220 global investors to step up pressure on the one hundred companies that emit the most greenhouse gases that cause global warming, and the start of a carbon pricing market.

    For some critical voices, these statements are but a vague list of pledges. For others, yesterday's meeting showed an increased awareness of the problem of climate change.

    United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Mexican President Enrique Peña were present at the meeting.

    D Brent Hardt, chargé d’affaires at the United States Embassy in Paris, was the official US representative was. But Governor Jerry Brown of California, a harsh critic of US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement, was also in attendance.

    Governor Brown said the effort in the United States to fight climate change was being led “from the cities, from the states, from corporate leaders, from universities.” He also noted “We can’t wait for the White House to wake up.”

    Climate change is increasingly blamed for more frequent and severe floods, droughts, storms and heat waves. As average global temperatures rise to new records, Arctic sea ice melts and sea levels rise.

    The poorest and most vulnerable countries are paying the heaviest price. The rich countries have so far failed to provide the US$ 100 billion a year pledged by 2020 to help them switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources.

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    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

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    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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