UN meeting urges 'highest political commitment' on climate change

MARRAKESH, Morocco (AFP) - Nearly 200 nations made an appeal Thursday ( Nov 17) for the "highest political commitment" to combat climate change, at a UN gathering overshadowed by Donald Trump's threats to withdraw the US from a global pact to turn back global warming.

"We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority," 197 parties to the UN's climate convention stated in the "Marrakesh Action Proclamation" issued at the annual UN climate conference.

The parties - 196 nations and the EU bloc - also called for action to reduce increased finance for projects to prevent worst-case-scenario global warming, and cope with the effects of unavoidable climate change.

"Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond," they warned.

The call came on the penultimate day of a conference tasked with drafting a blueprint for enacting the so-called Paris Agreement adopted last December, and since ratified by 111 countries - most recently Britain on Thursday.

The Paris pact sets the goal of limiting average global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, by cutting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

Countries, including the United States, have pledged to curb emissions under the deal by moving to renewable energy sources.

But Trump has vowed to boost oil, gas and coal and "cancel" the Paris Agreement.

Many fear a Trump administration would destroy the momentum built up over years of often acrimonious negotiation, imperilling the very goals of the global pact.

Thursday's proclamation noted "extraordinary momentum" underway on climate change, which it said was "irreversible".

"It is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels," said the document.

It urged all countries to urgently raise their pledges to reducing greenhouse emissions. Collectively, scientists say, current commitments place the world on course for warming of 3 C or more.

"We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability," said the communique.

And it urged "strengthening cooperation amongst ourselves... to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement."