"Our planet is hot and the temperature is rising," UN Secretary - General Antonio Guterres opened a round table on climate issues. To participate in it – in a virtual format, of course – he invited leaders in the fight against climate change from different countries, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Recalling natural disasters – from unprecedented fires to large-scale floods, news about which appears almost every day, he called on governments, the private and financial sectors, civil society and young people to focus on three areas.
First, post – pandemic recovery plans should focus on sustainable development and climate change containment.
Second, governments must rely on scientific evidence to protect their economies and societies.
And third, first of all, we need to act in the interests of the most vulnerable people and entire communities.
Antonio Guterres stressed that while recovering from the pandemic, it is necessary to stop subsidizing the extraction and production of fossil fuels, invest in "green" jobs and economic sectors, and take into account climate risks and related solutions in all plans and strategies.
He outlined a range of urgent measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature increases within 1.5 C, as required by the Paris climate agreement. The UN chief also recalled another goal – to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. So far, Guterres said, they have only grown by 62 percent.
"Switching to renewable energy will create three times as many jobs as those provided by the extraction and production of fossil fuels, "the Secretary - General stressed, adding that we are not even close to realizing the potential of the"green economy".
If we do not deviate from the current path, he warned, "climate violations will bring to the inhabitants of the planet such suffering that we can not even imagine yet."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about how the UK meets its climate commitments. This year, the next conference of the parties to the UN Convention on climate change was to be held in Glasgow. It was at such a meeting that the Paris climate agreement was adopted five years ago, which aimed to stop the global temperature from rising by 1.5-2 degrees C. Last year's meeting was remembered for a speech by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who accused political leaders of inaction and betrayal of her generation.
The current meeting had to be postponed to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but an event dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement will be held in a virtual format in December.
Photo by FAO/J. Napolitano