The UN chief called on world leaders to declare “climate emergency” states in their countries to promote measures to prevent “catastrophic” global warming.
Antonio Guterres made the remarks on Saturday during his inaugural address to the Virtual Meeting Climate Ambition Summit, which aims to drastically reduce planet-warming emissions on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. More than 70 world leaders will address the ODI summit.
Five years ago in Paris, Guterres said via video-link that the states had promised to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as much as possible. But the vows made to reach that goal are not enough, and in some cases ignore themselves.
The UN Secretary-General has warned that if the world community does not change course, the planet could move towards a “catastrophic” temperature rise of more than 3C (5.4F) this century.
“Can anyone still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Guterres asked. “That is why today, I call on all leaders around the world to declare a state of climate emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.”
The state of emergency must remain in place until carbon neutrality is achieved, which means no additional greenhouse gases will be pumped into the Earth’s atmosphere, Guterres said.
He said the G20 countries responsible for the lion’s share of carbon pollution were spending 50 percent more of their rescue packages on areas connected to fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy.
“It simply came to our notice then. We can not use these resources to lock future generations into a mountain of debt-ridden policies on a broken planet, ”Guterres said, urging countries that have already announced net-zero targets to improve their promises and accelerate emissions cuts. With science.
“Every country, city, financial institution and organization needs to reach zero emission plans by 2050 and start implementing them now, including by providing clear short-term goals,” Guterres said.
The UN chief said key emission sectors, such as aviation and shipping, should also “present new transitional roadmaps to meet this goal”.
“Climate change will be the catalyst for new jobs, better health and resilient infrastructure.”
The summit is co-hosted by the UN, Britain and France in partnership with Chile and Italy.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to make a statement via video link.
Low cost of pure energy
Unlike previous weather peaks, the talks were not planned. Only countries with climate policy successes are allowed to speak in an effort to put pressure on participants.
On Friday, Britain announced at the meeting that it was pledging to suspend direct government support for foreign fossil fuel projects, with the aim of encouraging other countries to take similar steps to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Diplomats from countries including China are watching the summit speeches for significantly stronger weather pledges, which surprised many observers by announcing the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060 in September, India and Japan.
Nick Mabe, chief executive officer of Third Generation Environmentalism, told Al Jazeera that “pure energy spending from Paris has fallen, much faster than we previously thought … about 30 years faster for offshore, wind, solar and electric vehicles”.
“The UK has published a really detailed analysis of how it’s going to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and it’s cheaper than its previous goal … and cheaper than our goals 10 years ago, which are very ambitious. So now the key driver is less going clean.”
However, Moby emphasized that low-cost does not mean rapid adoption of green solutions, “especially for developing countries suffering from COVID-19”.
“They did not have the money to invest in new clean technologies, which is good for them financially and for their people,” he said. “Access to finance and affordable access to new technologies” poor countries “so that they can benefit from the clean energy revolution.