“We are in a life-or-death struggle for our own safety today, and our survival tomorrow.” So says the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres who was speaking in New York as government representatives began meeting for a pre-COP27 climate summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Monday.
This year’s UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Egypt next month as the UN Chief issued yet another warning that while climate chaos gallops ahead, climate action has stalled.
Guterres pointed to climate devastation around the world, historic flooding in Pakistan, Europe’s hottest summer in 500 years, while Hurricane Ian knocked out Cuba’s power grid and decimated large swathes of the US State of Florida where the death toll has reached more than 80 and rising.
“The collective commitments of G20 governments are coming far too little, and far too late. The actions of the wealthiest developed and emerging economies simply don’t add up. Taken together, current pledges and policies are shutting the door on our chance to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone meet the 1.5-degree goal.”
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The Secretary-General called for a quantum-level compromise between developed and developing and emerging nations in a world that can no longer wait. With emissions at an all-time high and rising, he again lamented that the war in Ukraine was putting climate action on the back burning while the planet itself was burning.
He cautioned against worrying signs that even the private sector was backsliding.
“Every government, every business, every investor, every institution must step up with concrete climate action plans. We also need to see meaningful progress in two other key areas: decisions and actions to address loss and damage that are beyond countries’ abilities to adapt. And finance for climate action. On the central question of loss and damage, we know people and nations are suffering now. They need meaningful decisions now. Failure to act on loss and damage will lead to more loss of trust and more climate damage. This is a moral imperative that cannot be ignored.”
As he seeks to build momentum, particularly on financing for adaptation, ahead of COP27.
“On finance, the world needs clarity from developed countries on where they are this year on the delivery of their $100 billion dollars a year promise to support climate action in developing countries. We need to see evidence of how they will double adaptation finance to at least $40 billion dollars in 2025, as agreed in Glasgow. Funding for adaptation and resilience must represent at least half of all climate finance. And the Multilateral Development Banks, including the World Bank, must raise their game. Emerging economies, in particular, need their support to back the renewable energy revolution and build resilience.”
A look at how climate change has directly contributed to the La Niña weather pattern: