UN Climate Action Summit: 66 countries vow carbon neutrality by 2050

Some 60 world leaders have convened in New York for a summit aimed at reinvigorating the faltering Paris agreement

The Secretary General of the UN,  Antonio Guterres speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. / AFP / Johannes EISELE
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Sixty-six countries have signaled their intent to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the United Nations said on Monday, seen as a vital goal in preventing catastrophic longer term climate change.

"In terms of the 2050 group, 66 governments are joined by 10 regions, 102 cities, 93 businesses and 12 investors – all committed to net zero CO2emissions by 2050," the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

"The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win," he said.

Some 60 world leaders have convened for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York aimed at reinvigorating the faltering Paris agreement, at a time when mankind is releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than at any time in history.

The UN estimates that the world needs to increase its current efforts five-fold to contain climate change to the levels dictated by science – a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid escalating climate damage.

Countries announced commitments to carbon reduction targets under the Paris Agreement of 2015, and are now expected to update their "nationally determined contributions" by 2020.