In a 3 October opinion article distributed by more than 170 news outlets, Unite Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirmed his concerns over the threats posed by climate change and acknowledged that “the science is undeniable”. He agrees with the youth movement that global leaders are failing them and that urgent action must be taken.
“They are right,'' he lamented.
Guterres notes that “the consequences for oceans, forests, weather patterns, biodiversity, food production, water, jobs and, ultimately, lives, are already dire - and set to get much worse.” He also points out that “climate chaos” is real, is being felt everywhere, and that “those who contributed least to the problem are suffering the most.”
The UN Climate Action Summit was organized to allow delegates to present concrete plans for achieving carbon neutrality and slashing emissions. It was designed to “serve as a springboard” to fast-track Member States “to crucial 2020 deadlines established by the Paris Agreement.” More than 70 countries committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while 100 cities, including several of the world’s largest, have pledged to do the same.
The Secretary-General’s challenge for Member States to act was fruitful: an additional 70 countries announced intentions to boost national plans; Small Island Developing States promised to move to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030; countries across the globe vowed to plant more than 11 billion trees; and some of the world’s richest pledged to invest in carbon-neutral portfolios.
Guterres stressed that “these steps are important - but they are not sufficient.” He will continue to encourage more action for climate solutions, stating that to “avoid the climate cliff”, we must live in a carbon-neutral world, come 2050.
“We have a long way to go.” he cautioned. “But the movement has begun.”