The Latest: Astronaut describes climate change from space

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has used a video call from space to describe the view from the International Space Station of global warming’s repercussions

Via AP news wire
Thursday 04 November 2021 15:34
Climate COP26 Astronaut's View
Climate COP26 Astronaut's View

The latest on U.N. climate summit COP26 in Glasgow:

PARIS — French astronaut Thomas Pesquet used a video call from space to describe the view from the International Space Station of global warming's repercussions.

Pesquet told French President Emmanuel Macron during the call on Thursday that the space station's portholes revealed the haunting fragility of humanity’s only home.

“We see the pollution of rivers, atmospheric pollution, things like that," the astronaut said. "What really shocked me on this mission were extreme weather or climate phenomena.”

“We saw entire regions burning from the space station, in Canada, in California,” he continued. “We saw all of California covered by a cloud of smoke and flames with the naked eye from 400 kilometers (250 miles) up.”

This is Pesquet’s second mission to the space station. He also spent 197 days in orbit in 2016-2017. The destructive effects of human activity have become increasingly visible in the interim, he said.

Macron said the goal for negotiators at the U.N. climate conference in Scotland must be to speed up humanity’s response.

“There is still a huge job ahead of us, and I think we are all aware of that,” the French leader said.

___

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish government said Thursday it will donate 100 million kroner ($15.6 million) to efforts to purchase and decommission coal power plants and invest in new energy sources.

“As part of our comprehensive climate efforts, the Danish government is working to phase out coal while also investing massively in new green energy sources,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement.

Minister for Climate and Energy Dan Joergensen said the money “will help coal-intensive countries reduce their coal consumption and create new income opportunities in local communities, which is absolutely vital to accelerating the energy transition.”

Denmark's money will go to the Climate Investment Fund’s new Accelerating Coal Transition program, and the primary focus will initially be on South Africa, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Danish government said the program includes efforts supporting alternative employment of the local population in impacted areas.

___ GLASGOW, Scotland — Britain’s government has claimed that the “end of coal is in sight” after 18 countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile committed for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power.

The statement, issued late Wednesday during the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow said more than 40 nations are committing to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally, as well as rapidly scale up clean power generation. Participating nations also commit to phasing out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for smaller economies.

Separately, the statement also said that Chile and Singapore have joined a U.K.-led alliance on phasing out coal that includes over 150 countries and businesses such as HSBC and NatWest bank.

U.K. business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was a “milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change.”

But Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party’s business spokesman, said there were “glaring gaps” such as a lack of commitment from China and other large emitters to stop increasing coal at home. There was also nothing on the phasing out of oil and gas, he said.

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