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Polluters must join ‘net zero’ club for climate

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Polluters must join ‘net zero’ club for climate

BERLIN — Polluters must step up their commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions before a crucial climate summit in November, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday.

Guterres said the global body’s “central objective” this year is to get countries and companies responsible for 90% of the world’s human-made emissions to set credible deadlines by when they will stop adding further planet-heating gases to the atmosphere.

Several countries including the United States, China and members of the European Union have already announced plans to achieve “net zero” emissions, meaning they will only release as much carbon dioxide and other gases as can be absorbed by natural or technological means.

But scientists say some of the targets are too far off and aren’t backed by clear plans that would ensure that the Paris climate accord’s goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees 2.7 Fahrenheit can be achieved.

“The drive to net zero must become the new normal for everyone, everywhere, for every country, every company, city, financial institution, as well as the key sectors such as aviation, shipping, industry and agriculture,” Guterres told diplomats during a virtual gathering. “At the same time, all commitments to net zero must be underpinned by clear and credible plans to achieve them. Words are not enough.”

After making good on his campaign pledge to rejoin the Paris accord, U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to present his administration’s strategy for cutting carbon emissions by 2030 at the November summit.

“The United States is putting the climate crisis at the center of our foreign policy and our diplomacy,” the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Richard M. Mills, said. “The United States considers it a serious threat to our national security and to global security.”

But Mills made clear that the U.S. expects others to join in the fight. The Glasgow summit “will only succeed if the biggest emitters lay out detailed roadmaps in advance, how they will achieve net zero emissions by 2050,” he said — a clear reference to China and others.

Guterres urged major industrialized countries to phase out their use of coal — a big source of carbon emissions — by 2030, and to ensure that poor countries get the $100 billion in funding they need each year to respond to climate change.

He said the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow this fall, delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, also needs to finalize rules for international carbon markets that economists say would give companies greater incentives to cut emissions.

One major holdout in those negotiations, Brazil, pushed backed Monday against calls for it to give up vast piles of emissions credits it amassed under rules that experts say weren’t stringent enough.

Brazil’s U.N. ambassador, Ronaldo Costa Filho, said the Amazon nation wants those credits transferred to the new system, a demand that other nations including the United States are likely to oppose.

The U.N. chief said the global body will make offices and venues around the world available to governments so officials can take part in virtual meetings before the November summit, since the usual flurry of preparatory events likely won’t happen in-person because of COVID-19.

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Ducks escape certain death to visit NYC bagel store

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Ducks escape certain death to visit NYC bagel store

This fowl plot to get bread was nearly eggsecuted perfectly.

On Monday, a gang of ducklings and their mama hatched a plan to eat the bill at a Brooklyn bagel store, and were almost successful in their mission thanks to a group of supportive locals. 

“A real-life ‘Make Way For Ducklings’ scene just unfolded in Brooklyn with this mama duck and her babies trying to cross 5th Ave,” Doug Gordon captioned a video he posted to Twitter of the enterprising bird family’s journey from under an NYPD school safety van and directly into oncoming traffic. “Multiple people helped stop traffic to get them safely across the street. But it gets better . . .”

After spotting the endangered crew of bird brains lolling around in the street, locals immediately went into action. 

“A couple of us jumped out to stop traffic so they didn’t get run over, and then they got to the other side. It was adorable, a real Brooklyn-steps-up sort of moment, New Yorkers taking charge,” Gordon told Gothamist. 

Once safely on the sidewalk, the chicks and their mother beelined for Bagel World Park Slope. 

“They were in there a couple minutes, but I didn’t see what happened inside,” Gordon told the publication. “I don’t know whether they decided to come out because they didn’t see anything on the menu they liked, or if they were chased out.”

In Gordon’s video, the fledgling family exits the eatery, lured out by employees tossing breadcrumbs beyond the premises as onlookers label them “so cute.” 

Gordon and another man then trailed the ducks to ensure they made their way across Fourth Street without injury. 

Later, Gordon learned that the ducks had the good fortune of being escorted four more blocks to Prospect Park by other sympathetic humans. 

“Someone said [they had] led them up to Prospect Park, so they got there safely,” Gordon said. “They waddled into the woods, so it’s a happy ending.”

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Endangered corpse flower blooms in Warsaw, drawing crowds

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The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, or the corpse flower, at the rare moment of bloom for just a few hours, and emitting rotten meat odor, at the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens, in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, June 13, 2021.

WARSAW, Poland — The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, a giant foul-smelling blossom also known as the corpse flower, went into a rare, short bloom at a botanical garden in Warsaw, drawing crowds who waited for hours to see it.

The extraordinary flower, which emits a dead-body odor to attract pollinating insects that feed on flesh, bloomed Sunday. It was already withering early Monday. Those wishing to avoid the smell and crowds could watch it on live video from the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens.

 The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, or the corpse flower, at the rare moment of bloom for just a few hours, and emitting rotten meat odor, at the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens, in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, June 13, 2021.
The endangered Sumatran Titan arum, or the corpse flower, at the rare moment of bloom for just a few hours and emitting a rotten meat odor, at the Warsaw University Botanical Gardens, on June 13, 2021.
AP

Hundreds, if not thousands, lined up long into the night Sunday and Monday morning at the conservatory just to be able to pass by the flower and take a picture.

Know also as the Amorphophallus titanum, the flowering plant has the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, which can be up to 10 feet high. Its compound flower is composed of a hollow, tall spadix with small flowers and a spathe, with one big, furrowed petal that is green on the outside and deep burgundy red on the inside. It’s blooming is rare and unpredictable.

The plant only grows in the wild in the rainforests of Sumatra, but it is endangered there due to deforestation. Cultivation at botanical gardens, where they are a great visitor attraction, has helped its preservation. It’s first known blooming outside Sumatra was in 1889 at London’s Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

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Europe carbon prices expected to soar amid tougher climate goals

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Steam rises from the cooling towers of the coal power plant of RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity and gas companies in Niederaussem, Germany, March 3, 2016.

LONDON – Carbon prices in the European Union’s emissions trading system are expected to rise significantly in the next decade due to tougher climate goals, market participants said in an industry survey published on Monday.

The EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) is the largest carbon market in the world, covering around 45% of the bloc’s output of greenhouse gases and charging emitters for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit.

The survey by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) found members expect carbon prices in the EU ETS to average $57 a tonne between 2021 and 2025 and $71.06 a tonne between 2026 and 2030.

This is mainly due to a tougher EU goal of cutting emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Last year’s survey predicted an average price of 31.71 euros a tonne for the third phase of the ETS which runs from 2021 to 2030. Benchmark prices in the ETS currently trade around $64.24 a tonne.

Britain’s domestic emissions trading scheme started trading in May this year. The majority of survey respondents expect it will link with the EU scheme by 2023.

Participants anticipate that the average global carbon price needed by 2030 to put the world on track to meet goals to curb global temperature rise is $76.61 a tonne, up from last year’s expectation of $67.84 a tonne.

IETA’s members include banks, exchanges and energy and industrial firms. The association received responses from 158 member representatives for the survey.

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