Connect with us

Current

Taoiseach says world leaders ‘must act now’ on climate crisis as summit begins

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned that world leaders must act now “if we are to leave a habitable planet to future generations”, ahead of his departure for the United Nations Cop26 summit.

Mr Martin is joining world leaders in the Scottish city of Glasgow for the two-week summit, which has been billed as a make-or-break chance to save the planet from the most calamitous effects of climate change.

Delayed by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cop26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels – the limit scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences.

Meeting that goal, agreed in Paris to much fanfare in 2015, will require a surge in political momentum and diplomatic heavy-lifting to make up for the insufficient action and empty pledges that have characterised much of global climate politics.

Mr Martin will attend the World Leaders Summit on Monday and Tuesday, which will kick off two weeks of discussions between 196 countries, and the European Union, to “secure renewed commitment to global action on climate change”.

A roundtable event for world leaders on Monday afternoon, hosted by British prime minister Boris Johnson, is at the top of the Taoiseach’s schedule – before he delivers Ireland’s national statement to the summit on Tuesday.

The statement is expected to set out “how Ireland is contributing to [the] achievement of the Paris Goals, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and to helping developing and vulnerable countries mitigate the impacts of climate change”.

Mr Martin will also attend several bilateral meetings and receptions during the two-day summit.

The Taoiseach said he hopes the summit will see “a real coming together for global action”, adding that, although the challenge is big, he has “faith in the capacity of humans to work together to overcome it”.

“Science is leading the way,” Mr Martin said. “Leaders must put the right policies in place, as we are doing in Ireland.

“I also hope that Cop26 will see a real step forward in climate finance, supporting the most vulnerable countries. The transition must deliver climate justice – nobody should be left behind.”

Ambitious pledges

The UN conference needs to secure more ambitious pledges to further cut emissions, lock in billions in climate finance, and finish the rules to implement the Paris Agreement with the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries that signed it.

“Let’s be clear – there is a serious risk that Glasgow will not deliver,” United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres told leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) rich nations last week.

“Even if recent pledges were clear and credible – and there are serious questions about some of them – we are still careening towards climate catastrophe.”

Countries’ existing pledges to cut emissions would see the planet’s average temperature rise 2.7 degrees this century, which the UN says would supercharge the destruction that climate change is already causing by intensifying storms, exposing more people to deadly heat and floods, killing coral reefs and destroying natural habitats.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives at Glasgow Central train station ahead of the Cop26 summit. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA
Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrives at Glasgow Central train station ahead of the Cop26 summit. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

The signals ahead of Cop26 have been mixed. A new pledge last week from China, the world’s biggest polluter, was labelled a missed opportunity that will cast a shadow over the two-week summit. Announcements from Russia and Saudi Arabia were also lacklustre.

The return of the United States, the world’s biggest economy, to UN climate talks will be a boon to the conference, after a four-year absence under former president Donald Trump.

But like many world leaders, US president Joe Biden will arrive at Cop26 without firm legislation in place to deliver his own climate pledge as Congress wrangles over how to finance it and new uncertainty about whether US agencies can even regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Leaders of the G20 meeting in Rome this weekend will say they aim to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees, but will largely avoid firm commitments, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

The joint statement reflects tough negotiations, but details few concrete actions to limit carbon emissions.

The G20, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the US, accounts for about 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but hopes the Rome meeting might pave the way to success in Scotland have dimmed considerably.

Covid-19

Adding to the challenging geopolitical backdrop, a global energy crunch has prompted China to turn to highly polluting coal to avert power shortages, and left Europe seeking more gas, another fossil fuel.

Ultimately, negotiations will boil down to questions of fairness and trust between rich countries whose greenhouse gas emissions caused climate change, and poor countries being asked to decarbonise their economies with insufficient financial support.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the divide between rich and poor. A lack of vaccines and travel curbs mean some representatives from the poorest countries cannot attend the meeting.

Other obstacles – not least, sky-high hotel rates in Glasgow – have stoked concerns that civil society groups from the poorest nations which are also most at risk from global warming will be under-represented.

Covid-19 will make this UN climate conference different from any other, as 25,000 delegates from governments, companies, civil society, indigenous peoples and the media will fill Glasgow’s cavernous Scottish Event Campus.

All must wear masks, socially distance and produce a negative Covid-19 test to enter each day – meaning the final-hour “huddles” of negotiators that clinched deals at past climate talks are off the table.

World leaders will kick start Cop26 on Monday with two days of speeches that could include some new emissions-cutting pledges, before technical negotiators lock horns over the Paris accord rules. Any deal is likely to be struck hours or even days after the event’s November 12th finish date.

Protests

Outside, tens of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets to demand urgent climate action.

Assessing progress will be complex. Unlike past climate summits, the event won’t deliver a new treaty or a big “win” but seeks to secure smaller but vital victories on emission-cutting pledges, climate finance and investment.

Ultimately success will be judged on whether those deals add up to enough progress to keep the 1.5C goal alive – still a long way off.

Since the Paris accord in 2015, scientists have issued increasingly urgent warnings that the 1.5C goal is slipping out of reach. To meet it, global emissions must plummet 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels, and reach net zero by 2050 – requiring huge changes to countries’ systems of transport, energy production, manufacturing and farming. Countries’ current pledges would see global emissions soar by 16 per cent by 2030.

“The way I think about this is, there is a meteor coming at our planet and it has the very real potential of wiping out humanity,” said Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate diplomat who led the talks that yielded the Paris Agreement. – Additional reporting Reuters



Climate Crisis
Full coverage of the threat to the global environment

READ MORE

Source link

Current

‘I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish’

Voice Of EU

Published

on

“For the first time in my lifetime my two cultures were intertwined in the most beautiful way … I was so proud to be Navajo and so proud to be Irish.”

Doreen McPaul was speaking as she received a Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2021. President Higgins granted the awards to 11 people at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin on December 2nd.

McPaul, of Irish and Navajo heritage, is attorney general for the Navajo Nation. Her award, under the category of charitable works, is in recognition of her fundraising for the Navajo, who experienced extreme hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her efforts led to a collaboration with the Irish Cultural Centre and McClelland Library in Phoenix, Arizona, which gathered more than $30,000 worth of donated supplies to assist the Navajo Nation at the peak of the pandemic.

“The Navajo Nation was so devastated by Covid-19, as a culture and as a community. [It] was really tragic and stressful, and we worked literally non-stop. The highlight of this was talking to people from all over the world …. Specifically with Ireland, we had this huge outpouring of support, and that was really overwhelming because of my own dual heritage and growing up as a half-Navajo half-Irish girl,” she told The Irish Times.

“As soon as people learned that the Navajo Nation attorney general was part-Irish, people reached out to me and claimed me as their own and invited me to all these things and celebrated my dual heritage in a way I’ve never experienced before. Literally they put me on the highest pedestal and that’s what this award signifies to me.”

A graduate of Princeton University, Doreen McPaul has worked as a tribal attorney for 20 years and has spent two years serving as attorney general. “I didn’t know I was nominated for the award first of all. So when the Irish council called to let me know I would be receiving a notice of the award, I literally cried.”

In all, 11 people received awards on Thursday, in a variety of fields. They were: Arts, Culture and Sport: Susan Feldman (USA), Roy Foster (Britain) and Br Colm O’Connell (Kenya). Business and Education: Sr Orla Treacy (South Sudan). Charitable Works: Doreen Nanibaa McPaul (USA), Phyllis Morgan-Fann and Jim O’Hara (Britain). Irish Community Support: Adrian Flannelly and Billy Lawless (USA). Peace, Reconciliation & Development: Bridget Brownlow (Canada). Science, Technology & Innovation: Susan Hopkins (Britain).

Colm Brophy, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora said: “As Minister of State for the Diaspora I am aware of the profound impact our global family has had around the world in a variety of fields. There were 107 nominations for these awards this year, and the level and breadth of the achievements of the people nominated are, by any measure, remarkable.

The contribution of the Irish abroad has been immense, and the diversity of their achievements in their many walks of life, can be seen in this year’s 11 awardees.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Ski home values rise by up to 17% despite travel restrictions says Savills

Voice Of EU

Published

on

It’s not just Britain’s property market that is red-hot. Homes in ski resorts are being snapped up by wealthy buyers despite the pandemic and on/off travel restrictions, a new reports suggests.

And just like here, the staggering growth in values stems from high demand and lack of supply. 

The findings are in Savills latest ski report, which tracks 44 resorts globally. It found that property prices grew on average 5.1 per cent in the last year.

However, some resorts – including Flims and Grimentz in Switzerland – saw values rise 17 per cent.

This chalet in Chemin Des Cleves in Switzerland and is for sale for CHF6,000,000, the equivalent of £4.9million

This chalet in Chemin Des Cleves in Switzerland and is for sale for CHF6,000,000, the equivalent of £4.9million

Top 20 prime ski resorts, based on price per square metres (priced in euros)

Top 20 prime ski resorts, based on price per square metres (priced in euros)

The release of pent-up demand for ski properties follows almost two seasons of closures for most resorts.

Jeremy Rollason, of Savills, said: ‘Only a few resorts such as Val d’Isère, Verbier and Morzine were seeing real price growth up until 2019. 

‘That has all changed with virtually all resorts in the Alps and North America experiencing strong double digit and sometimes exponential price growth in a matter of months.’

He adds: ‘The first quarter of 2021 was particularly acute for demand. Transaction volumes doubled over the previous year and fierce competition emerged, especially for prime property in the most exclusive resorts.

‘Property that had previously been for sale for a few months – or even years – suddenly found buyers who were keen to escape the confines of towns and cities.’

The North American ski resorts of Aspen and Vail top the Savills Ski Prime Price League with Courchevel 1850 moving from the top spot to third place.

Aspen, which celebrates its 75th birthday this season, is predominantly a domestic market, with average values at around £25,000 per square metre.

Meribel has broken into the top ten price resorts with asking prices of around £13,800 per square metre. 

With its 200 lifts, and central to the world’s largest ski area – Les Trois Vallees – Meribel is popular among French and British skiers looking for a dual season resort.

Making the most of a dual season: This five-bed chalet is in St Gervais, in France's Haute-Savoie region, and is on the market for €2.5m (£2.13m)

Making the most of a dual season: This five-bed chalet is in St Gervais, in France’s Haute-Savoie region, and is on the market for €2.5m (£2.13m)

Estate agents Savills also looked at the prospects for price growth in 10 key resorts

Estate agents Savills also looked at the prospects for price growth in 10 key resorts

While resorts have always pushed the benefits of using properties throughout the winter and summer, a dual season resort is now the most important locational factor for buyers as they look to make the most of their holiday homes, according to Savills.

The estate agent said that regardless of international travel restrictions, foreign buyers are still keen to purchase ski resort properties and have been quick to return to the property market as restrictions have lifted.

This week, some resorts opened early amid heavy snowfall and are hoping to remain so throughout the season.

Mark Nathan, of Chalets 1066, the largest operator in France’s Les Gets, said: ‘We are fortunate here in that Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the French Minister for Tourisme has said that ‘closing is not an option’ this winter.

‘The snow is amazing at the moment and the pistes will be opening this weekend. The planned date was December 12 for early opening so this shows how good the conditions are. The fresh snow was up to my knees this morning.’

This five-bed chalet is in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and is for sale for CHF4,200,000, the equivalent of £3.4million

This five-bed chalet is in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and is for sale for CHF4,200,000, the equivalent of £3.4million

He explained that visitors will be expected to show proof of vaccination to go into bars and restaurants, and also when buying lift passes.

‘There might even be random checks in the lift queues. We are also expecting to have to use masks in lift queues – but these are all small points and the good news is we can all ski and enjoy a mountain holiday. 

‘Our bookings are the best we have ever had by a long way, in over 13 years of business. 

‘Over the past few days there has been nervousness among the English and a few other countries with the new Omicron variant, but we now hear that the Swiss will be allowing people who are on their way to France to land at Geneva and then take a transfer directly to France. 

‘Overall, we are looking forward to an exciting ski season.’

Qualified ski instructor and ski journalist Rob Stewart added: ‘British skiers spend more money than domestic visitors and ski resorts are desperate to have us back. 

‘In some French resorts, British skiers are only second to French visitors in regards to numbers and we are such an important part of their economy.

‘This winter, snow seems to have come fairly early and in decent quantities, and it’s cold. This always helps increase visitor numbers and after such a terrible winter last year because of Covid, there is huge positively about this winter being a good one.

‘The challenges remain for British skiers, with nerves around changing travel restrictions still haunting the industry and lack of availability pushing prices higher for the moment. 

‘But for skiers that have missed out for one and half seasons now, these challenges will be overcome if possible, for the chance to get back on the slopes’.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Players should be allowed to compete in Saudi International

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Rory McIlroy has delivered a potentially crucial intervention on behalf of golfers wishing to compete in the Saudi International in February by insisting the PGA and European tours should not block them from playing.

The Saudi International, once of the European Tour but now an Asian Tour event, has confirmed a number of the world’s most prominent golfers – including Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio García – have agreed to feature in 2022.

Saudi Arabia has sought to make inroads into professional golf but has encountered stiff resistance from the European and PGA tours. It has been reported both those bodies could trigger open warfare by refusing to grant releases to their members to play in Jeddah. The European Tour will discuss the issue at board level in the coming days.

McIlroy has no interest in accepting Saudi money but believes others should not be denied the opportunity. “I think we’re independent contractors and we should be able to play where we want to play,” he said. “So in my opinion I think the Tour should grant releases. It’s an Asian Tour event, it’s an event that has official golf world rankings.

“I do see reasons why they wouldn’t grant releases but I think if they’re trying to do what’s best for their members and their members are going to a place other than the PGA Tour and being able to earn that money, I mean, we’re independent contractors and I feel like we should be able to do that if that’s what our personal choice is. My personal choice is not to do that but obviously a lot of players are doing that and I think it’s fair to let them do that.

“My view as a professional golfer is I’m an independent contractor, I should be able to go play where I want if I have the credentials and I have the eligibility to do so. I’d say most of the players on tour would be in a similar opinion to me.”

The matter is further complicated by some players having signed multi-year deals to play in Saudi. McIlroy, 32, did admit the prospect of legal wrangling is an unappealing one. “I think the professional game needs to get to a point where we as professionals need to know where we stand,” he said. “Are we actually independent contractors? Are we employed by a certain entity? There’s a lot of grey area in that and that’s what sort of needs to be sorted out, I think.”

McIlroy’s curious competitive year will close at this weekend’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “I think it’s been a year where I’ve struggled in parts but I still got two wins on tour, which is pretty good,” the world No 8 said. “I was tied for the lead with nine holes to go in the US Open. I played well in parts, I just didn’t do it consistently enough. I go back to 2019 and had like 19 top-10 finishes or whatever it was; that’s the level I want to play at.” – Guardian

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!