By 2018-09-11 InPortugal

Climate change: political leaders get dire two-year warning

On the tails of World Climate Day – and in Portugal, just as the country appears to be being dragged unwillingly into the fossil fuel producing sector – former Portuguese prime minister now head of the United Nations António Guterres has delivered a dire warning.

Political leaders have got to start listening, he says.

Scientists have been sounding the alert for decades, now there are less than two years to face climate change.

And by face, he means “reduce our dependence on fossil fuels”.

If there was ever a signpost to the Portuguese government that keeps telling its citizens that becoming a oil and natural gas producer is in the national interest, then this is it.

“Climate change is moving much faster than we are”, stressed Guterres in New York this week.

If political leaders continue to “not listen” “we risk disastrous consequences for humans and for the natural systems that sustain us”, he continued.

Guterres’ words precede a new conference on global climate change that will be taking place in San Francisco later this week.

For the Portuguese who have railed so loudly against plans to start exploratory drilling offshore near Aljezur this sudden focus on the downsides has come at exactly the right moment.

ENI’s drill ship Saipem 12000 has not yet set out for Portuguese waters; various court challenges are in place and the clock is ticking.

For Guterres, the step back from global warming through fossil fuel production is one of the “most crucial questions of our time”.

Says Público – citing a text in the New York Times – the UN secretary-general is particularly concerned “by the non-compliance by several countries of the Paris Accord”, agreed in 2015 to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to 1.5ºC.

Since the signing of the Accord, the United States has ‘dropped out’ and other countries, including Portugal, have forged ahead with plans that would markedly increase C02 emissions.

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