UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on all countries to declare a “climate emergency” immediately.
“Five years after the Paris Climate Accord, we are still not going in the right direction,” Guterres said.
“It is possible to limit temperature rises to as close to 1.5 degrees. However, the commitments made in Paris were not enough,” Guterres complained.
“If we don’t change course, we may be heading for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees by the end of the century. Can anybody still deny that we are still facing a dramatic emergency?” asked the socialist UN Secretary-General.
“I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.”
Climate Ambition Summit
The UN, the U.K., and France co-hosted the Climate Ambition Summit. Speakers worldwide discussed progress and made new commitments on climate issues in advance of COP26 next November in Glasgow, Scotland.
Among the speakers at the event were Pope Francis, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and European Union leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel. Although not part of the Paris Agreement, governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts represented the United States.
Guterres had harsh criticism for all the national leaders for their lack of action on so-called green energy, particularly those who are members of the G20 forum of nations.
“So far, the members of the G20 are spending 50 percent more in their stimulus and rescue packages on sectors linked to fossil fuel production and consumption than on low carbon energy. This is unacceptable,” Guterres scolded.
“This is a moral test. We cannot use these resources to lock in policies that burden future generations with a mountain of debt or a broken planet,” the secretary-general concluded.
Representatives of the major emitters left observers disappointed. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised no new climate commitments. Chinese President Xi offered modest changes to the country’s current commitment to cut emissions by 65 percent by the end of the decade. Xi also pledged to make non-fossil fuels account for 25 percent of China’s energy by 2030.
China pledged to become carbon-neutral by the year 2060 but has shown no signs of reducing its current dependence on coal or ceasing to build new coal-powered energy plants.
India and China’s lack of urgency prove the Paris Climate Agreement’s absurdity. The agreements can’t be effective since none of the promises are binding.
The charged rhetoric of Guterres is troubling in that it gives a potential President Joe Biden cover to declare a “climate emergency” in the United States. What exactly would such a thing look like? How many of our freedoms would be lost in such a nebulous and untraceable “emergency”?
via James Murphy