by Staff Writers
Lisbon (AFP) July 3, 2017
The US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has given a "global push" to the deal, as other signatories have strongly recommitted to the landmark accord, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Monday.
President Donald Trump, whose country is the world's second biggest producer of greenhouse gases after China, drew widespread criticism when he announced on June 1 that he would quit the 2015 pact.
"Since the decision by the US government to abandon the Paris accords, we have been witnessing a global push and a reaffirmation by all the other governments of their commitment" on climate change, Guterres told a conference in Lisbon.
"It's obvious for the European Union, China and India," he added.
Guterres recalled that he had recently met the leaders of China and India, describing them as countries which were "crucial" for the success of the Paris accords.
"Their commitment is clear," he said.
"In the United States, this push is generating at the level of cities, in some states and in the business world a very strong commitment towards the green economy," the UN chief said.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become a UN special envoy for cities and climate, "is convinced that the United States will be able to reach the targets it set itself under the Paris accord," said Guterres.
The Paris agreement, struck in the French capital in December 2015, aims to keep the increase in average world temperatures to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
Thousands rally in Hamburg over looming G20 summit
The Group of 20 (G20) comprises leaders of the world's major industrialised and emerging economies.
A police spokesman put turnout at the demonstration -- the first of about 30 scheduled in the runup to the Friday-Saturday summit -- at around 8,000, while the organisers claimed there were "more than 18,000 people".
The protest was "completely peaceful," the police spokesman told AFP.
The gathering outside city hall took place under rainy skies and in parallel with protests by canoeists on the nearby river Alster, while in the port of Hamburg, Greenpeace staged a climate demonstration near a ship laden with coal.
At city hall, a number of speakers took the podium to call for "a different political approach", urging respect for the environment or criticising Trump.
"We need a fair distribution of wealth in Germany and across the world," said Stefan Korzell of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB).
- 'Only interested in money' -
The demonstrators then marched through the streets carrying a giant banner calling for "fair international commerce", "climate rescue" and a "strengthening of democracy".
"We are here to support the G20 summit protesters," said 46-year-old Heike, who did not give his last name.
Michael, 50, said he was "against the G20 because the G20 is only interested in money."
Around 30 protests have been scheduled ahead of the summit with organisers hoping for a total turnout of more than 100,000 people.
Hamburg, where Chancellor Angela Merkel was born, is an anti-establishment bastion popular with leftwing radicals, with officials saying they are bracing for possible clashes and property damage.
In Sunday's edition of Bild, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned that any violence would be "nipped in the bud".
"Freedom of assembly is only valid for peaceful demonstrations," he said.
Around 15,000 police will be deployed to protect the summit, in addition to 3,800 officers monitoring airport and train security.
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Jul 03, 2017
The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution. Aggressive reduction of fossil-fuel usage is the key to averting devastating heat extremes and unmanageable sea level rise, the authors argue in a comment published in the renowned scientific journal Nature this week. In the run-up to the G20 summit of th ... read more
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