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Climate goal of 1.5C is ‘gasping for breath’, says UN head

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The goal of limiting global heating to 1.5C is “gasping for breath”, the UN secretary general has said as he announced a “climate ambition summit” for September.

António Guterres said the summit would challenge leaders of governments and businesses to come up with “new, tangible and credible climate action to accelerate the pace of change” and confront the “existential threat” of the climate crisis.

“We are still moving in the wrong direction,” he said on Monday. “The 1.5C goal is gasping for breath. National climate plans are falling woefully short. And yet we are not retreating, we are fighting back.”

He added: “The invitation [to the summit] is open. But the price of entry is non-negotiable – serious new climate action that will move the needle forward. It will be a no-nonsense summit. No exceptions. There will be no room for backsliders, greenwashers, blame-shifters or repackaging of announcements of previous years.”

Guterres has become increasingly outspoken about the climate emergency, and the summit will put further pressure on countries to act.

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