Planned fossil fuel output ‘vastly exceeds’ climate limits, says UN

Despite pledges of action from many nations, almost none have policies to wind down production, report says Fossil fuel production planned by the world’s governments “vastly exceeds” the limit needed to keep the rise in global heating to 1.5C and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, a UN report has found. Despite increasing […]

Colin Powell’s UN speech: a decisive moment in undermining US credibility

Analysis: His security council presentation didn’t directly lead to the Iraq invasion – but it was a turning point in US-UN relations Colin Powell will be most remembered for the act he most regretted, his 2003 presentation to the UN security council laying out US evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which turned out […]

UN chief urges airlines and shipping firms to do more to cut emissions

António Guterres says current efforts are more consistent with global heating ‘way above 3C’ Airlines and shipping companies have failed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and must step up with fresh commitments on the climate crisis as Cop26 approaches, the UN secretary general has said. António Guterres said current efforts were inadequate and would […]

Matt Hancock appointed UN special envoy to help Covid recovery in Africa

Former health secretary’s role comes as MPs release damning report into UK’s pandemic response Matt Hancock has announced he has been appointed a special representative to the United Nations. The former health secretary will focus on helping African countries recover from Covid-19. Hancock said he was “honoured” to have been given the role, adding on […]

Clean environment is a human right, UN council agrees

Human rights council also appoints special rapporteur to monitor impact of climate crisis on rights The UN’s main human rights body has overwhelmingly voted to recognise the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right, and to appoint an expert to monitor human rights in the context of the climate […]

War crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya since 2016, says UN

Fact-finding mission says migrants and detainees particularly exposed to violations since civil war War crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture, enslavement, extrajudicial killings and rape have been committed in Libya since 2016, a United Nations investigation has found. The independent fact-finding mission on Libya, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, said migrants […]

Ethiopia expels ‘meddling’ UN staff as famine deepens in Tigray without aid

Seven senior officials responsible for ‘delivering lifesaving aid’ told to leave amid de facto blockade of food, medicine and fuel The Ethiopian government has told seven senior UN officials to leave the country, accusing them of “meddling in internal affairs”. A statement from the foreign ministry said the officials – who include staff from the […]

How German coalition wrangling could affect Cop26 mood

Analysis: after Germany’s climate election, UN summit delegates will be watching to see what is agreed on coal phase-out It was called Germany’s climate election. After deadly floods in July sharpened the focus on the climate emergency, all parties vied for green votes. But when it comes to the UN climate talks in Glasgow in […]

Cop26: Women must be heard on climate, say rights groups

Those worst hit by global heating are left out of talks, says feminist coalition calling for systemic change Women must be enabled to play a greater role at the Cop26 summit, as the needs of women and girls are being overlooked amid the global climate crisis, a coalition of feminist groups has said. The Global […]

Boris Johnson’s climate speech annotated: what he said and what he meant

PM’s speech to UN general assembly is revealing in several ways. Fiona Harvey reads between the lines Mr President, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, An inspection of the fossil record over the last 178m years – since mammals first appeared – reveals that the average mammalian species exists for about a million years before it […]

Myanmar junta abducting children of people targeted for arrest, says UN expert

Children as young as 20 weeks old are being seized to force opponents to hand themselves in Myanmar’s military junta is systematically abducting the relatives of people it is seeking to arrest, including children as young as 20 weeks old, according the UN special rapporteur for the country. Tom Andrews told the UN Human Rights […]

‘Betting on a low-carbon future’: why China is ending foreign coal investment

Xi Jinping’s promise reflects growing awareness of the climate crisis in China and falling renewable prices The pledge by China’s president, Xi Jinping, on Tuesday to cease building new coal-fired power projects outside the country will be welcome news to environmentalists around the world. It came on the anniversary of Xi’s unilateral pledge for China […]

Johnson says he has changed his mind on the climate – but he’s still dragging his feet | Adrienne Buller

Outright denial has been replaced by something that may turn out to be even worse: delay As he flew to New York yesterday to speak to the UN general assembly about the Cop26 climate conference, Boris Johnson was asked to defend old comments made by his newly appointed trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Trevelyan had made […]

Iran’s president denounces US sanctions as ‘crimes against humanity’

Ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi uses debut on international stage to deliver sustained attack on Washington Iran’s new ultra-conservative president has used his debut on the international stage to deliver a sustained assault on US, denouncing sanctions as “crimes against humanity” and hailing what he called the end of Washington’s hegemony. “Sanctions are the US new way […]

Boris Johnson to address Amazon’s tax record with Jeff Bezos on US visit

PM is making three-day trip during which he will give speech to UN general assembly and hold talks with Joe Biden at White House Boris Johnson plans to press Amazon boss Jeff Bezos on the tech giant’s tax record when the pair meet face to face in New York on Monday, Downing Street has said. […]

Devon teenager to cycle to Glasgow for Cop26 climate summit

Jessie Stevens, 16, plans to pedal 570 miles to represent young people at UN conference in November Unable to afford the exorbitant train fare and refusing to fly, a 16-year-old environmental campaigner has decided to cycle 570 miles to the Cop26 summit in Glasgow – and has invited the public to join her for the […]

US and EU pledge 30% cut in methane emissions to limit global heating

Major commitment with deadline of 2030 is big advance towards reaching 1.5C goal set out in Paris agreement The US and the EU made a joint pledge on Friday to cut global methane emissions by almost a third in the next decade, in what climate experts hailed as one of the most significant steps yet […]

Russia slams New York’s vaccine requirement for UN general assembly

Russia’s ambassador requests meeting after letter says delegates must provide proof of vaccination to enter debate hall All diplomats attending the UN general assembly in New York next week will have to provide proof of vaccination, the city government has confirmed, prompting an angry response from Russia. Delegates must be vaccinated to enter the debate […]

90% of global farm subsidies damage people and planet, says UN

Almost half a trillion dollars of support a year harms people’s health, the climate and drives inequality Almost 90% of the $540bn in global subsidies given to farmers every year are “harmful”, a startling UN report has found. This agricultural support damages people’s health, fuels the climate crisis, destroys nature and drives inequality by excluding […]

Six countries invited to arms fair are on Foreign Office human rights list

Department for International Trade sent invitations even though nations are of ‘particular concern’ Six nations listed by the Foreign Office as “human rights priority countries” have been invited by the British government to send delegations to Europe’s biggest arms fair, which begins in London’s Docklands on Tuesday. Among those invited is Saudi Arabia, to which […]

Taliban reassure UN over safety of humanitarian workers in Afghanistan

Written assurances also say aid agencies will be able to operate independently of government and will be free to employ women The Taliban, facing the imminent collapse of humanitarian aid into Afghanistan, have given the UN written assurances on the safe passage and freedom of movement for humanitarian workers, the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, […]

Iran agrees deal with UN on monitoring of nuclear programme

Talks aim to revitalise stalled inspections process and could ease path towards lifting of US sanctions Iran has agreed to allow UN nuclear inspectors to install new memory cards into its cameras monitoring the country’s controversial nuclear programme in a move that could keep the inspection process on life support, and even ease a path […]

At least four killed in Taliban crackdown on protests, says UN

Human rights official says group conducting house-to-house searches and threatening journalists The Taliban’s violent crackdown on protests against their hardline rule has already led to four documented deaths, according to a UN human rights official who said the group had used live ammunition, whips and batons to break up demonstrations. Ravina Shamdasani, the UN’s rights […]

Afghans at risk of near-universal poverty, UN report warns

Study suggests a worst-case scenario where 97% of Afghans would sink below poverty line by 2022 Afghanistan’s population of 38 million people risks being plunged into near-universal poverty faced with a “catastrophic deterioration” of the country’s heavily aid-dependent economy, according to a warning issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The study, which examines […]

Tory MPs urge Priti Patel to return migrants who attempt to enter UK illegally

Suggestion to home secretary condemned as breach of UN convention on human rights Conservative MPs have urged the home secretary, Priti Patel, to send back immediately anyone including children who boards an illegal crossing of the Channel from France. They claimed the measure should be enacted because the UK needed to “up the stakes” with […]

Taliban name all-male Afghan cabinet including minister wanted by FBI

Country will once again be officially known as an Islamic emirate, as at least two people killed in protests The Taliban have announced an all-male caretaker government including an interior minister wanted by the FBI, on a day when at least two people were killed by violent policing of street protests against the new authorities. […]

Wildlife photographer of the year 2020 highly commended – in pictures

With a record-breaking number of entries from around the world, the judges of the 57th wildlife photographer of the year have had the toughest job yet. From lynx making a comeback to a striking ecological disaster and narwhal shrimp communicating at great depths, there is an incredible range in the unique and fascinating images in […]

Leaded petrol era ‘officially over’ as Algeria ends pump sales

UN announcement marks ‘huge milestone for global health and our environment’ The era of leaded petrol is officially over, the UN has announced, eliminating a major threat to human and planetary health. UN experts have called the use of the fuel, which began in 1922, a “catastrophe for the environment and public health”. By the […]

UN atomic watchdog says North Korea appears to have restarted nuclear reactor

IAEA ‘deeply troubled’ by indications the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon was operating North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor that is widely believed to have produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, the UN atomic watchdog has said in an annual report. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has had no access to North Korea […]

UN criticised over statement on overuse of antibiotics in farming

Statement calling for significant cut in antimicrobial drug usage is ‘real missed opportunity’, say critics Animal health experts and UN leaders have called for a significant reduction in antimicrobial drug usage in food animals, which is already causing a “silent pandemic”. But critics say the statement is “a real missed opportunity”, pointing to its failure […]