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Trump Unexpectedly Shows Up at UN Climate Summit After Criticism

The president in the past has questioned man-made climate change, at one point calling it a Chinese hoax.

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Donald Trump attends the UN climate summit in New York on Sept. 23. Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at a climate-change summit at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

Trump faced criticism from Democrats and climate activists for scheduling an appearance at a religious freedom event scheduled for the same time as the climate summit.

The president in the past has questioned man-made climate change, at one point calling it a Chinese hoax.

But the president denied he intended to snub the climate event on Sunday, pointing to a briefing he received on flooding in the Houston area as evidence he is concerned about climate change.

“It’s not a snub at all. I’m very busy, I’m going on the flights today,” Trump said as he departed the White House on Sunday. “The floods are very important to me, and uh, climate change – everything is very important.”

Trump spent about 15 minutes at the summit and didn’t speak. He listened to remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then departed.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday that reversing climate change “will require fundamental transformations in society,” such as taxes for pollution and other measures.

“Science also tells us it is not too late, we can do it,” he said.

The climate summit coincided with protests in cities around the world designed to draw attention to man-made climate change.

Nature

NGT directs States, UTs to set up nodal agencies to protect, restore waterbodies

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Rainwater harvesting

Following a plea seeking identification, protection and restoration of waterbodies in Gurugram, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expanded the scope of the petition and directed all States and Union Territories to designate a nodal agency under respective chief secretaries within a month.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the nodal agencies to convene a meeting by January 31 to “take stock of the situation” and plan further steps, including directions to district authorities for further course of action. It also directed the nodal agencies to evolve a monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism.

Rainwater harvesting

Taking note of a report furnished by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on rainwater harvesting, the Bench observed, “It appears that the CPCB has not appreciated the direction of this Tribunal on the subject. While rainwater harvesting maybe required in all buildings and other places in urban areas, in the present context, the Tribunal has directed setting up of such facilities in sub-water sheds along ponds for utilisation of surplus rainwater for restoration of the ponds which have become dry and for augmenting other ponds.”

Stating that there was a need for “continuous planning and monitoring” at the national, State and district levels, the panel observed that observations of the CPCB and an oversight committee needed to be acted upon.

“As suggested by the CPCB, a single agency needs to be set up in every State and Union Territory within one month. This work may either be assigned to the Wetland Authority of the state or the River Rejuvenation Committee or to any other designated authority such as the Secretary, Irrigation and Public Health or Water Resources,” the Bench said.

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Nature

Guterres highlights long-term strategies towards carbon neutrality

Heading towards the Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 and COP26 next year, the UN chief signalled that “the world will once again be looking to the European Union for climate leadership”.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has highlighted the importance of long-term strategies towards carbon neutrality when speaking virtually to the European Council on Foreign Relations.

On Thursday, the UN chief stressed the need for “every country, city, financial institution and company” to adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050, reports Xinhua news agency.

He called for them to be ready before November 2021, when the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is scheduled to be held in Scotland, and he highlighted the importance of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) required under the 2015 Paris Agreement and “long-term strategies towards carbon neutrality”.

Pointing to its “pioneering legislation and policies”, the UN chief hailed the 27-member European Union (EU) as “a leader on climate action”, which had shown that it was possible to cut emissions while achieving economic growth.

The Secretary-General applauded the bloc’s climate action, while emphasizing that “we are still nowhere near the finish line… and still running behind in the race against time”.

“I urge you to continue to lead with concrete and ambitious near-term commitments,” said the UN chief, advocating for EU members’ NDCs to reflect at least a 55 per cent emission reduction by 2030.

Noting that “the EU has been building solidarity with the most vulnerable countries around the world”, Guterres pointed out that the bloc’s proposals to speed up how it confronts inequality and protects those affected by the transition “can set a powerful example”.

“The EU has a crucial role in ensuring that developing countries in need have the necessary support to recover sustainably from Covid-19 and to enhance their own climate ambition – through assistance for mitigation, adaptation and resilience,” the Secretary-General added.

Heading towards the Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 and COP26 next year, the UN chief signalled that “the world will once again be looking to the European Union for climate leadership”.

“I urge the EU to seize these opportunities – and answer this call for people everywhere, for prosperity and for the planet we all share and depend on,” he said.

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Cities

Over 50 monkeys poisoned to death in Telangana

Mahabubad district is known for monkey menace. The officials believe that the monkeys could have been poisoned to death for destroying crops.

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Monkey

Hyderabad: In a shocking act, unknown persons poisoned more than 50 monkeys to death in Telangana’s Mahabubabad district.

The bodies of the monkeys were stuffed in gunny bags and thrown on a hillock near Sanigapuram village. Many of the monkeys killed were babies.

The incident came to light when the villagers complained of stink and alerted the police. The forest officials also reached the hillock and to their utter shock, found highly decomposed bodies of monkeys. They believe that the animals were killed five to six days ago.

The forest officials with the help of police began an inquiry into the incident. District Forest Officer P. Krishnamacharyulu said they never came across such atrocities on simians.

As the bodies were highly decomposed, a post-mortem examination could not be conducted. The forest personnel cremated the bodies.

Mahabubad district is known for monkey menace. The officials believe that the monkeys could have been poisoned to death for destroying crops.

Some of the monkeys are also suspected to have died of electrocution. Farmers electrify the fencing of their fields to protect the crops from animals.

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