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Climate Change Promises Fall Short and Risk ‘destabilised World and Endless Suffering’, UN Says

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The latest global climate promises to cut emissions are not yet enough to stay under the dangerous threshold of global heating that would trigger severe climate breakdown, UN scientists have warned.

The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) latest annual emissions report exposes the gap between what countries have promised and what should be done to achieve the Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to 1.5C.

It finds each country’s action plans – known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) – only knock 7.5% off predicted 2030 emissions, but 55% is needed to meet the 1.5C goal. Beyond 1.5C, more severe impacts of climate change kick in, from extreme weather to rising sea levels.

Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP said we have eight years to “make the plans, put in place the policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts. The clock is ticking loudly.”

Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem,” she said.

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It comes just as Australia commits to net zero by 2050 and China sets out its plan to peak carbon emissions by 2030.

The Emissions Gap Report also found the world is facing at least 2.7C of heating this century based on the latest climate promises for 2030. Next week leaders will meet for climate talks at COP26, which aims to “keep 1.5?C alive”.

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Overshooting these goals will lead to “a destabilised world and endless suffering, especially among those who have contributed the least to the [greenhouse gas] emissions in the atmosphere,” said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We are nowhere near where science says we should be,” Espinosa said.

However, net zero commitments may offer a glimmer of hope, as they could curb heating to 2.2?C, but only if they were “made robust and if 2030 promises were made consistent with the net zero commitments” the report said.

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But it warns net zero pledges are still vague, incomplete in many cases, and inconsistent with most 2030 NDCs.

It found the latest NDCs from some G20 countries were no better than their previous offering – such as Australia, Brazil and Mexico – or so unambitious that they further policy action, like Russia’s.

Caterina Brandmayr, head of climate policy at Green Alliance, warned net zero targets are “only the first step, and must urgently be translated into concrete actions, particularly by G20 nations”.

“COP26 must provide a clear route forward to accelerate emission reductions and ensure countries continue to ramp up their near term climate action,” said Brandmayr.

Bleak climate report shows colossal challenge facing COP26

The prime minister’s comment yesterday that success at the COP climate summit in Glasgow is “touch and go” was not a throwaway remark.

Today’s Emissions Gap Report spells out, in the starkest of terms, just how far away the UN-led process is from delivering its aim of preventing dangerous levels of climate change.

It estimates the carbon-cutting commitments that countries are bringing to Glasgow currently put us on a trajectory for 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of this century.

That level of warming would lead to extremely dangerous extremes of weather and climate endangering food and water supplies, wipe many low-lying nations off the map due to several metres of sea-level rise (although this would take centuries more), not to mention obliterating most of the world’s glaciers and killing our existing coral reefs.

The report also lays bare the colossal challenge of how much we need to change.

Click here for Tom Clarke’s full analysis

Piers Forster, climate change professor at Leeds University, said the report paints “an overly bleak picture”.

He said: “It is true that the 2030 emissions gap remains but if you look at their numbers, it shows that the gap in longer term emission targets is almost closed.

“These national plans show that the costs of action are far less than the cost of inaction, so we have it all to play for at [COP26] to close these gaps even further.”

The report also highlights ways to slash emissions quickly, including by tackling the lesser talked about greenhouse gas methane through technology and diet changes.

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Sepi Golzari-Munro, of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, and Chidi Oti-Obihara, the co-founder of COP26 Climate Action Plan, discuss how record high fuel prices could shape future climate policy

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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A Historic Night for Barbados and the Role of the Royal Family

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The crowds were strictly restricted due to the COVID pandemic, and despite the efforts and enthusiasm of the bands and dancers the atmosphere seemed muted in National Heroes Square, once known as Trafalgar Square.

But as the ceremonial events got under way the significance was striking, a historic night for Barbados and the role of the Royal Family.

There was a series of symbolic moments: the Prince of Wales closing almost 400 years of royal history inspecting one last military march past; the standard lowered for the final time; and the new president, Dame Sandra Mason, stepping forward to take her new role just seconds after the clock struck midnight.

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Rihanna ‘national hero’ of Barbados

Barbados had made that final step out on its own, now a republic.

In the distance you could hear the crowds clapping as the president entered the square.

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There were a few cheers for Prince Charles as his car swept past them, but the loudest cheer was for Barbados’s biggest star Rihanna, as she tried to make a subtle appearance during the middle of the proceedings.

And with the cheering and the fireworks lighting up the sky you could be led to believe this was a moment of celebration for all Barbadians.

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Barbados becomes a republic ending 400 years of the British royal family as head of state

Yes, independence day always brings parties, but the move to a republic isn’t without controversy.

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‘Atrocity of slavery forever stains our history’

There was no referendum about it, and in the crowds it wasn’t difficult to find those who thought they should have had their say, others who don’t understand what this new status means for them, as well as those who for decades have fought to cut the colonial ties.

While it will remain a member of the Commonwealth, now it will be up to Prime Minister Mia Mottley to more forcefully take Barbados to the world stage, hammer home the need for greater support on the matters of COVID and the climate crisis.

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President Sandra Mason, singer Rihanna and Prince Charles during the transition ceremony

This is not a completely fresh slate, there are still matters around reparations and the legacy of the slave trade to deal with.

Prince Charles at least acknowledging the appalling ways hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were treated, going some would say further formally in his comments than any other member of his family in the past.

He too reiterated that message that this is a new chapter for Barbados. And it was encouraging to see that at the helm a female prime minister and a female president are now helping to write that future.

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Original Post: news.sky.com

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Rihanna Declared a ‘national Hero’ As Barbados Celebrates Becoming a Republic

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Barbadian singer and businesswoman Rihanna has been declared a national hero by the country’s prime minister.

The 33-year-old was awarded the honour by Mia Mottley during an event to celebrate the island nation becoming a republic.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero for Barbados, ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty,” the PM said to a jubilant crowd in the capital, Bridgetown.

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The singer was awarded the honour as the Caribbean island celebrated becoming a republic

“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions.”

Rihanna was born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, before moving to the United States after she was discovered by New York-based music producer Evan Rogers.

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She has since gone on to become one of the biggest artists in the world, as well as starring in movies including Battleship and Ocean’s 8, and launching her own fashion brand, Fenty, in 2018.

Since 2018, Rihanna has had the honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados.

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In 2008, former prime minister David Thompson declared 22 February “Rihanna Day” – and although it is not a bank holiday, Barbadians celebrate it every year.

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Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony

The latest honour was awarded to the star from her homeland as it celebrated becoming a republic – 55 years after gaining independence from the UK.

In a message to the people of the Caribbean island, the Queen sent her “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and emphasised the importance of the “continuation of the friendship” with the UK as she ceased to be their monarch.

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Rihanna joined the ceremony in Bridgetown

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the move.

Speaking in front of a crowd in National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, once known as Trafalgar Square, he said: “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.

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There was singing and dancing during the celebrations

“Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.”

Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the island’s first-ever president.

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Source: news.sky.com

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Prince Charles Acknowledges ‘appalling’ History of Slavery As Barbados Becomes a Republic

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The Prince of Wales has formally acknowledged “the appalling atrocity of slavery” in the Caribbean, saying “it forever stains our history” at an event to mark Barbados becoming a republic.

Prince Charles was invited to speak at the transition ceremony formalising the Caribbean island’s decision to remove the Queen as its head of state.

Speaking in front of a crowd in National Heroes Square in Bridgetown, once known as Trafalgar Square, he said: “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our histories, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.

“Emancipation, self-government and independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.”

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Prince Charles celebrated the UK’s relationship with Barbados in his speech

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Performers provide entertainment as part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in Bridgetown

A 21-gun salute was fired just after midnight when the nation officially became a republic, marking a new chapter in the nation’s history.

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The prince, who described how “the creation of this republic offers a new beginning”, watched as the Queen’s standard was lowered for the final time.

He described how he felt “deeply touched” to be invited to the event, held on the nation’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, and spoke of his great personal respect for the people of Barbados.

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He added: “Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievement, collective enterprise and personal courage which already fill its pages.

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Members of the Barbados armed forces carry the presidential colours

A new chapter

“The creation of this republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum – a milestone on the long road you have not only travelled but which you have built.”

In a message to the people of the Caribbean island, the Queen sent her “good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and emphasised the importance of the “continuation of the friendship” with the UK as she ceased to be their monarch.

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Rihanna ‘national hero’ of Barbados

Barbados’ decision to remove the Queen as head of state will be watched closely by other members of the Commonwealth, especially in the Caribbean region.

Prince Charles’ speech referenced the UK’s close relationship with Barbados and a continuing partnership between the two nations.

“As your constitutional status changes, it was important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things which do not change,” Prince Charles said.

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Dame Sandra Mason is now president of Barbados

“For example, the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom as vital members of the Commonwealth; our common determination to defend the values we both cherish and to pursue the goals we share; and the myriad connections between the people of our countries – through which flow admiration and affection, co-operation and opportunity – strengthening and enriching us all.”

After a dazzling display of Barbadian dance and music, Sandra Mason was sworn in as Barbados’ first ever president.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the leader of Barbados’ republican movement, helped lead the ceremony.

Barbadian singer Rihanna also attended the event and was declared a national hero.

“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Ms Mottley told Rihanna, a reference to her 2012 chart-topping single Diamonds.

The transition ceremony was watched in-person by a large crowd, and broadcast online and on screens across the island.

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Source: news.sky.com

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