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News in Brief 2 December 2020

News in Brief 2 December 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Making peace with nature must be top priority for all: UN chief 

The state of the planet is broken, and now is the time to transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world and with each other, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in an address at Columbia University in New York on Wednesday. 

He said the world is facing a devastating pandemic, global warming, ecological degradation and setbacks in achieving sustainable development. 

But as human activities are at the root of this “descent towards chaos”, human action can help solve it. 

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century.  It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere. In this context, the recovery from the pandemic is an opportunity. We can see rays of hope in the form of a vaccine. But there is no vaccine for the planet. Nature needs a bailout.” 

The UN chief said overcoming the pandemic could be an opportunity to transform the world economy through promotion of renewable energy sources, which will create new jobs, cleaner infrastructure and a resilient future. 

He also stressed the need for all countries to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

Reduce fossil fuel production to avoid ‘catastrophic’ temperature rise 

In related news: 

Countries must reduce production of fossil fuels by six per cent per year over the next decade if the planet is to avert “catastrophic” global temperature rise, according to a new UN-backed report issued on Wednesday.

The Production Gap Report measures the “gap” between the aspirations of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and countries’ planned production of coal, oil and gas. 

This “production gap” remains large, the authors said, as countries plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature limit specified in the Agreement. 

The report further revealed that although there were short-term drops in coal, oil and gas production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production is set to increase based on pre-crisis plans as well as stimulus measures. 

Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), one of the partners behind the study, said investing in low-carbon energy and infrastructure will be good for jobs, economies and human health as the world seeks to recover from the pandemic. 

Pandemic driving down wages, with women and low-paid workers hard hit 

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is likely to drive down wages in the near future, the UN labour organization, ILO, said in a report published on Wednesday. 

Covering more than 130 countries, it found monthly wages fell or grew more slowly during the first six months of the year due to the pandemic, in two-thirds of the countries for which official data was available. 

Women and low-paid workers were disproportionately affected. 

And while average wages in one-third of countries appeared to increase, this was mainly due to large numbers of lower-paid workers losing their jobs, thus skewing the numbers. 

ILO chief Guy Ryder said recovery from the pandemic must be human-centred, with wage policies that take into account job sustainability while also addressing inequalities. 

Dianne Penn, UN News. 

  • Making peace with nature must be top priority for all: UN chief 
  • Countries urged to reduce fossil fuel production to avoid ‘catastrophic’ temperature rise 
  • Pandemic driving down wages, with women and low-paid workers hard hit: ILO report
Audio Credit
Dianne Penn, UN News
Photo Credit
UNDP/Joe Hitchcock