At the United Nations General Assembly meeting of world leaders on Tuesday, Secretary General António Guterres sounded the alarm on climate crisis, saying that the world is “moving in the wrong direction.”
The window to keep the Paris Climate agreement’s goals alive is “rapidly closing,” he warned.
“Climate scientists tell us it is not too late to keep alive the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Climate Agreement. But the window is rapidly closing. We need a 45% cut in emissions by 2030. Yet a recent UN report made clear that with present national climate commitments, emissions will go up by 16% by 2030.”
“That would condemn us to a hellscape of temperature rises of at least 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial levels – a catastrophe,” he added.
Looking ahead at the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Guterres said the world is “seemingly light years away from reaching our targets.”
Highlighting that the OECD reported a gap of at least $20 billion in essential and promised climate finance to developing countries, he outlined his recommendations and called on multiple stakeholders to escalate the momentum in global action against climate change, especially in the areas of mitigation, finance and adaptation.
- Countries should commit to carbon neutrality by mid-century, and to concrete 2030 emissions reductions targets that will get us there, backed up with credible actions now.
- Developing nations should finally see the promised $100 billion a year for climate action, fully mobilizing the resources of both international financial institutions and the private sector too.
- Developed countries should fulfill their promise of credible support to developing countries to build resilience to save lives and livelihoods. This means 50% of all climate finance provided by developed countries and multilateral development banks should be dedicated to adaptation.
In his message to every member states, he said, “don’t wait for others to make the first move. Do your part.”
Countries have the “opportunity and the obligation to act,” he said, as he made green policy recommendations.
“Governments must also summon the full force of their fiscal policymaking powers to make the shift to green economies. By taxing carbon and pollution instead of people’s income to more easily make the switch to sustainable green jobs. By ending subsidies to fossil fuels and freeing up resources to invest back into health care, education, renewable energy, sustainable food systems, and social protections for their people. By committing to no new coal plants,” he said.
The Paris targets “will go up in smoke” if all planned coal power plants become operational, he warned.