Humanity must choose between climate solidarity or collective suicide: UN Secretary General
A ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’ — where developed and emerging economies work together to accelerate energy transition — is a must for a better future as Earth fast approaches a tipping point that will make climate chaos irreversible, warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Speaking at the high-level opening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Guterres said that the Group of 20 countries should accelerate energy transition within the decade to avoid the dire consequences associated with climate change.
“Global temperatures keep rising. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. We are getting dangerously close to the point of no return. To avoid that dire fate, all G20 countries must accelerate their transition now, in this decade,” said Guterres during his speech.
He further noted that developed countries must take the lead in the energy transition, and emerging economies should also do their part to flatten the global emissions curve.
“At the beginning of COP27 I am calling for a historic pact between developed and emerging economies, a climate solidarity pact. A pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal,” he said.
Guterres went on to say that the pact will allow countries and international financial institutions to work together to provide financial and technical assistance to help emerging economies speed up their renewable energy transition journey.
He added that the pact is expected to end dependence on fossil fuels and will provide universal, affordable, and sustainable energy for all.
“Humanity has a choice, to cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” Guterres said.
The UN Secretary-General noted that some 3.5 billion people are currently living in countries which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
He added: “We desperately need progress on adaptation. In Glasgow, developed countries promised to double adaptation support to $40 billion a year by 2025. And we must recognize that this is only a first step. Adaptation needs are set to grow to more than $300 billion dollars a year by 2030.”
Guterres also urged international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to transform business models and do their part to scale up adaptation finance and better mobilize private finance to massively invest in climate action.
He added that the war in Ukraine exposed the profound risks of fossil fuel addiction.
“Human activity is the cause of the climate problem. Human action must be the solution. Action to reestablish ambition. And the action to rebuild trust between the north and the south,” he said.
Guterres said that within the next few days, the population on earth will hit 8 billion and achieving goals is necessary for humanity’s future generations.
The Secretary-General added that humans now have the financial and technological tools to achieve climate goals, and nations should come together and implement these targets.
Calling war on nature a massive violation of human rights, he said: “It is time for international solidarity across the board. A solidarity that respects all human rights and guarantees a safe space for environmental defenders and all actors in society to contribute to our climate response.”