“Mother Nature is not waiting,” the UN chief warned, as the past decade has been the hottest on record and the world continues to see sea level rise, scorching temperatures, devastating tropical cyclones and epic wildfires.
We are on the edge of the abyss. We need to make sure the next step goes in the right direction.
It is time to mobilize political leadership and move forward together – to overcome climate change, end our war on nature and build lives of dignity and prosperity for all. https://t.co/1ukeUNYylh
– António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 22, 2021
“We need a green planet, but the world is on red alert,” he said. “We are on the edge of the abyss. We need to make sure the next step goes in the right direction. Leaders around the world must act. ”
US commitment and investment
The Secretary General thanked President Biden for hosting the two-day Climate Leaders Summit and applauded the United States’ commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In his introductory remarks, President Biden announced that the country will cut emissions by half by 2030. He spoke of the “extraordinary job creation and economic opportunity” that the climate response offers by proposing investments in sectors such as energy. , transport, construction and agriculture.
President Biden acknowledged that no nation can solve the climate emergency alone and called on the leaders of the world’s largest economies to “step forward” in the race towards a sustainable future.
“Scientists tell us this is the decisive decade. This is the decade in which we must make decisions that avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis, “he said.
Mr. Guterres used the summit to amplify his call for a global coalition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and for countries to step up their commitments under the historic Paris agreement on climate change.
The 2015 treaty aims to limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and requires governments to engage in increasingly ambitious climate action through plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
“All countries – starting with the main emitters – should present new and more ambitious nationally determined contributions for mitigation, adaptation and financing, defining actions and policies for the next 10 years aligned with a net zero path of 2050 “, he has declared.
These commitments must also translate into “concrete and immediate action,” he added, as it is estimated that less than a quarter of the pandemic recovery spending will go to mitigating emissions, reducing air pollution or strengthening natural capital. .
Borrow from the future
“The trillions of dollars needed for COVID-19 recovery is money we are borrowing from future generations. We cannot use these resources to block policies that burden them with a mountain of debt on a destroyed planet. ”
The UN chief asked leaders to “put a price on carbon” through taxation. He called for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels and, instead, to increase investment in renewable energy and green infrastructure.
“Stop the financing of coal and the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Phase out coal by 2030 in richer countries and by 2040 everywhere. Ensuring a just transition for affected people and communities, ”he said.
Building the net zero global coalition will require a breakthrough in both finance and adaptation, the Secretary General said. He urged donors, as well as banks, to shift from 20 to 50 percent across all climate finance streams to resilience and adaptation.
“Before the UN climate conference in November in Glasgow, we need concrete proposals that facilitate access to more finance and technological support for the most vulnerable countries,” he added.
“Developed states must maintain public climate finance, including the long-pledged $ 100 billion for climate action in developing countries, at the G7 summit in June.”
Patricia Espinosa, head of the United Nations climate convention body (UNFCCC), released a statement on the summit, noting that the global climate emergency was “an evident, present and growing danger for all people on this planet.
“It doesn’t recognize borders and while nations can be affected differently, none are immune,” he said. “This is a time of leadership, courage and solidarity from global leaders; a time when they must make the difficult decisions necessary to finally deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement and move the world away from disaster and into an unprecedented era of growth, prosperity and hope for all.