Macron visits retreating glacier, urges ‘fight of the century’ Feb 14, 2020 0 77 12345 AFPChamonixFrench President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged the “fight of the century” to combat climate change and preserve the environment, as he visited an iconic Alpine glacier at risk from global warming.Macron is keen to burnish his green credentials as he begins the road towards 2022 presidential elections although sceptics have not always been impressed by his ambitious environmental rhetoric.On a high-profile visit to the foot of Mont Blanc, France’s highest mountain, in the heart of the Alps, Macron was taken to the Mer de Glace (‘Sea of Ice’), a glacier which has awed travellers for centuries.Marching through the glacier on a special walkway, Macron inspected a natural wonder that has receded by 8-10 metres (26 to 32 feet) annually, or two kilometres (1.2 miles) since 1850.“I did not expect a melting as quick as this. It leaves a huge impression. You see how the failure to take decisions has resulted in that,” the president said, blaming “a very direct impact of climate warming.” According to the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA), temperatures in the mountain range have risen by nearly two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past 120 years -- almost double the global average, and will continue to soar.The world’s nations agreed in the French capital in 2015 to curb average global warming to 2.0C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, or to 1.5C if possible.But the one-degree mark has already been exceeded and scientists warn Earth is on track for 3.0C unless the Paris agreement signatories improve their targets for reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.Warming is not the only threat to Mont Blanc. Macron told reporters after his visit that a major concern was a rise in “aberrant behaviour” by climbers and visitors.Recent incidents have included a British tourist abandoning a rowing machine on the famed mountain, a German tourist making the ascent with his dog against the rules, and two Swiss climbers landing a small plane just east of the summit before hiking to the top.The mayor of Chamonix, where Macron held his press conference, last year urged the president to act against such “wackos”.Macron said a protected area will be declared around the mountain, and the existing fine of 38 euros ($41) for undesired activities would be hiked to between 750 and 1,500 euros. These steps would go a long way, he said, to making legitimate alpine tourism possible while discouraging harmful practices. RELATED ARTICLES Greek islanders take anti-camp protest to Athens Feb 14, 2020 0 74 British finance minister quits in reshuffle shock Feb 14, 2020 0 1186 UK PM names minister to take over UN climate talks Feb 14, 2020 0 68 N Macedonian police intercept van with 53 migrants inside Belgrade: North Macedonian police have intercepted a van with 53 migrants crammed inside and arrested the driver, the Makfax news agency reported on Thursday. The vehicle was stopped on a regional road near the village .. Trump, Bloomberg trade barbs as ex-NY mayor rises in polls AFP New York US President Donald Trump and White House hopeful Mike Bloomberg locked horns on Thursday in a blaze of caustic tweets as the former New York mayor climbs in the polls in his drive to capture the Democratic .. Brazil’s Bolsonaro lashes out at Pope Francis’s Amazon text Brasília: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out at Pope Francis on Thursday after the pontiff pleaded for the protection of the Amazon rainforest. “Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world’s, .. Mexican billionaires contribute to presidential plane raffle Mexico City: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday that business leaders had pledged to buy 80 million dollars worth of tickets in a raffle he organised to fund the upkeep of his predecessor’s .. Senate passes measure to curb Trump on military action against Iran Washington: The US Senate passed a bipartisan resolution on Thursday to curb President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval. The move comes amid growing concern ..