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Friday, December 3, 2021

Climate: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres 'very worried' about COP26 failure

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The current state commitments on climate are a "ticket to no return to disaster", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, without hiding concern that there is little time left to "avoid failure". COP26, which starts in nine days.

According to the latest UN estimate, commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming by 200 countries will simply lead to a "catastrophic" temperature rise of 2,7 ° C, much higher than the target set by the Paris Agreement in 2015, when it was agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, ideally to 1,5 ° C.

"There is no doubt that people are heading for 'disaster,'" Antonio Guterres warned yesterday, speaking during a press conference he shared online with members of the international Covering Climate Now initiative.

"The progress of the last few weeks is not enough" and "when I look at the minimum time left from today to Glasgow (in Scotland, where COP26 will be held) and how far we are from where we should be," "I am very worried, but I have hopes," he added.

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP26, begins on 31 October and ends on 15 November in the United Kingdom.

"I hope we are still within the deadline to avoid failure in Glasgow, but time is running out, it is becoming more and more difficult and that is why I am very worried, I am afraid that things may turn out badly."

To avoid failure, he called for a "sense of responsibility" of governments, especially those of the G20, whose leaders will meet shortly before COP26.

"The contamination of a handful of countries has brought humanity to its knees," he said, noting that the G20 is responsible for 80% of global emissions. Its member states must "lead the effort" to prevent climate change, otherwise "human beings will suffer terribly," he warned.

He noted, however, that all countries must do their part, especially emerging economies. He especially insisted on the need to abandon coal by 2030 in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries and by 2040 for the rest.

Asked about China, which has not yet presented its new commitments, and about the United States, where President Joe Biden is struggling to pass a bill in Congress that includes ambitious climate measures, the Secretary-General called on the two countries responsible for higher gas emissions to "go further".

"China and the United States need to do more than they have stated so far: for China, the key issue is to reduce emissions; for the United States, the key issue is funding and guaranteeing that the goals are "to reduce emissions will be specified and achieved," he said.

Source: RES-EAP

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