The Latest: Biden pleads for action on climate in UN speech

The Latest on the U.N. General Assembly:

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UNITED NATIONS — Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih called hope “a highly desirable commodity in these difficult times” in his address at the U.N. General Assembly.

Solih’s foreign minister, Abdulla Shahid, is presiding over the U.N. General Assembly. Addressing him, Solih said Tuesday that it was apt his tenure is called “the Presidency of Hope.” But he cautioned that hope without action is ineffective.

The Maldives is highly reliant on tourism for its economy, and was accordingly devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. While its borders have reopened, Solih said the virus remains a threat as long as it’s not defeated everywhere. He touted vaccines, saying 85% of all Maldivians are vaccinated.

Climate change threatens to wipe out the small Indian Ocean island nation, and Solih brought with him pleas written by young children to protect their home. He said that 56 years since Maldives “made haste” to seek U.N. membership, he still believes the world body is the best hope for humanity.

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UNITED NATIONS — President Joe Biden is appealing to delegates to the U.N. General Assembly for action on climate change. He says the situation is at a “code red for humanity.”

Biden says the world is “fast approaching a point of no return” with regard to extreme weather events that are taking lives and costing billions of dollars in damage. He says every nation must “bring their highest possible ambitions” to an upcoming global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, that he plans to attend.

Biden says he’s working with the U.S. Congress on climate investments and encouraged other leaders to work with their governments, too, saying it will help create good-paying jobs for their citizens.

The address is Biden’s first to the U.N. General Assembly.

Biden says the U.S. is looking forward after recently turning the page on 20 years of war in Afghanistan.

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UNITED NATIONS — President Joe Biden is delivering his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Biden opened by addressing the challenge and loss facing the world from COVID-19 and he appealed to delegates to address climate change.

Biden is delivering the speech at a difficult time in his still new presidency after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a new deal with Australia and the United Kingdom that has angered France, one of America’s oldest European allies.

Biden told delegates he will outline how the U.S. intends to work with partners and allies to help lead the world toward a more prosperous future for all people.

“To deliver for our own people, we must also engage deeply with the rest of the world.” he said.

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief is warning global leaders that the world has never been more threatened and divided and “we face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetime.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres rang the alarm in his annual state of the world speech at Tuesday’s opening of the U.N. General Assembly’s annual high-level meeting for leaders of its 193 member nations.

“We are on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction,” he said.

Guterres pointed to “supersized glaring inequalities” sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate alarm bells “ringing at fever pitch,” upheavals from Afghanistan to Ethiopia and Yemen thwarting global peace, a surge of mistrust and misinformation “polarizing people and paralyzing societies” and human rights under fire.

The secretary-general said the solidarity of nations to tackle these and other crises “is missing in action — just when we need it most.”

And he lamented that “instead of humility in the face of these epic challenges, we see hubris.”

Guterres said people may lose faith not only in their governments and institutions but in basic values when they see rights curtailed, corruption, the reality of their harsh lives, no future for their children — and “when they see billionaires joyriding to space while millions go hungry on earth.”

Despite all these crises and challenges, the U.N. chief said he has hope.

Guterres urged world leaders to bridge divides to promote peace, restore trust between the richer north and developing south on tackling global warming, reduce the gap between rich and poor, promote gender equality, ensure that the half of humanity that has no access to the Internet is connected by 2030, and tackle the generation divide by giving young people a seat at the table.

Last year, no leader showed up in person because of COVID-19, but this year despite the pandemic still raging over 100 heads of state and government and several dozen ministers are slated to speak from the General Assembly podium during the high-level meeting which ends Sept. 27.

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