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Almost 80 nations commit to accelerating fight against climate change

By Carles Escolà / New York City (USA) / The United Nations’ Climate Summit on Monday saw 77 countries commit to reducing their carbon emissions to zero by 2050 during a meeting in which a teenage Swedish climate activist was the main protagonist.

The 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, whose climate strikes and calls for action against global warming have made her a worldwide viral sensation, did not hold back when it came to criticizing world leaders present for “betraying” and “failing” the planet’s youth.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,” Thunberg told the leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York. “Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you,” she added.

The young activist also accused politicians of inaction in the face of the climate crisis’ urgency because of short-term concerns such as economic profit.

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg said. “We’re in the beginning of a mass destruction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”

Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump – who has famously claimed repeatedly that climate change was a hoax – stopped by the summit (which had been convened by the UN’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres) for about 10-15 minutes before hurrying away to a parallel “summit” on religious freedom attended primarily by American religious interest groups.

“I’m a big believer in clean air and clean water, and all countries should get together and do that, and they should do it for themselves. Very, very important,” he told CNN reporter Jim Acosta at the Assembly building.

On the other hand, the UN chief issued a somber warning at the beginning of the summit: “Time is running out. But it is not too late.”

“This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk,” Guterres said. “This is not a climate negotiation summit because we don’t negotiate with nature.”

The former Portuguese prime minister added that “emissions are still growing and the situation is getting worse, clearly. I am deeply convinced that climate change is the defining issue of our time.”

“Clearly, we are lagging behind and that there are many resistances in many areas,” he said. “I feel that we are still running late and we need to accelerate. The next few years are absolutely crucial to reverse the present trend, that is still a negative trend.”

In the end, 77 countries, more than 100 cities and several large corporations – including Iberdrola, Nestlé, Ikea and Unilever – signed the commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

The goal of the so-called 2050 Alliance is to collectively reduce carbon emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 and achieve a zero-carbon economy two decades later. To do so, individual countries must significantly redouble their efforts at the state level.

Germany, for example, pledged to increase its global climate protection funds from 2 billion to 4 billion euros ($2.2-$4.4 billion).

Many European heads of government and State appeared at the climate summit, including Angela Merkel (Germany), Guiseppe Conte (Italy), Boris Johnson (United Kingdom), Sauli Niinistö (Finland), Erna Solberg (Norway), Pedro Sanchez (Spain) and Leo Varadkar (Ireland), among others.

Latin American leaders – such as the presidents of Colombia, Ivan Duque; of Chile, Sebastian Piñera; Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado; Ecuador, Lenin Moreno and the prime minister of Peru, Salvador del Solar – also attended, as did Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pope Francis I made a video appearance and urged leaders to respond to the climate emergency with “honesty, responsibility and courage.” (September 24, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

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Question 1
Principalmente, en el texto se habla de... (Mainly in the text, it's talked about...)
la Cumbre del Clima en la que participó la activista Greta Thunberg.
lo que dijo Donald Trump acerca del cambio climático.
la intervención del papa Francisco en la Cumbre del Clima.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que... (It's said in the text that...)
António Guterres cree que aún hay mucho tiempo para hacer frente al cambio climático.
decenas de países se comprometieron a reducir por completo sus emisiones de carbono en 2050.
ningún país se comprometió en incrementar los esfuerzos en la lucha contra el cambio climático.
Question 3
Sobre Greta Thunberg se dice que... (About Greta Thunberg, it's said that...)
alabó el trabajo que están realizando los mandatarios para luchar contra el cambio climático.
se mostró dura con los mandatarios ya que considera que les están fallando a los jóvenes.
tuvo una breve reunión con el presidente Donald Trump.
Question 4
Según el texto... (According to the text...)
no asistió a esa cumbre ningún líder de un país europeo.
Alemania duplicará los fondos destinados para la protección del clima global.
el papa Francisco no cree que los mandatarios no estén haciendo todo lo posible para luchar contra el cambio climático.
Question 5
Viendo el vídeo, entendemos que Greta Thunberg... (Watching the video, we understand that Greta Thunberg...)
considera que todo no está tan mal como parece.
afirma que se están destruyendo ecosistemas.
está pidiendo consejo a los líderes mundiales.
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