NEW YORK. KAZINFORM – Ahead of the Glasgow Cop26 summit, United Nations Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres published an editorial on the climate challenge, Kazinform learned from the UN press service.
âThe climate crisis is a code red for humanity.
World leaders will soon be put to the test at the United Nations Climate Conference – known as COP26 – in Glasgow.
Their actions – or inactions – will show their seriousness in the face of this planetary emergency.
The warning signs are hard to miss: temperatures everywhere are reaching new highs; biodiversity is reaching new lows; the oceans are warming, acidifying and choking on plastic waste. Rising temperatures will make vast swathes of our planet dead zones for humanity by the end of the century.
And the respected medical journal The Lancet just described climate change as the “defining human health story” in the years to come – a crisis defined by widespread hunger, respiratory disease, deadly disasters and infectious disease outbreaks that could be even worse than COVID -19.
Despite these alarm bells ringing at full blast, we are seeing new evidence in the latest UN reports that the actions of governments so far simply do not correspond to what is so desperately needed.
The recent new announcements for climate action are welcome and essential – but even so, our world is on track for a calamitous global temperature rise to well above 2 degrees Celsius.
That’s a far cry from the 1.5 degree Celsius goal the world agreed to under the Paris Agreement – a goal that science tells us is the only sustainable path for our world.
This goal is very achievable.
If we can reduce global emissions by 45% from 2010 levels this decade.
If we can reach global net zero by 2050.
What if world leaders arrive in Glasgow with bold, ambitious and verifiable 2030 goals, and concrete new policies to reverse this catastrophe.
G20 leaders, in particular, must be up to the task.
The time for diplomatic niceties is over.
If governments – especially G20 governments – don’t stand up and lead this effort, we are heading for terrible human suffering.
But all countries need to understand that the old model of carbon-burning development is a death sentence for their economies and our planet.
We need decarbonization now, in all sectors and in all countries. We need to shift subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables, and tax pollution, not people. We need to put a price on carbon and redirect it towards resilient infrastructure and jobs.
And we need to phase out coal – by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 in all others. More and more governments have pledged to stop funding coal – and private finance urgently needs to do the same.
People rightly expect their governments to lead. But we all have a responsibility to safeguard our collective future.
Companies must reduce their climate impact and fully and credibly align their operations and financial flows with a net zero future. No more excuses; no more greenwashing.
Investors, both public and private, must do the same. They are expected to join pioneers like the Alliance of Owners of Net Zero Assets and the UN’s own pension fund, which has met its 2021 carbon emissions reduction investment targets in advance and above its target, with a reduction of 32% this year.
People in every society need to make better and more responsible choices in what they eat, how they travel and what they buy.
And young people – and climate activists – must continue to do what they do: demand action from their leaders and hold them to account.
Everywhere we need global solidarity to help all countries make this change. Developing countries are grappling with debt and liquidity crises. They need support.
Public and multilateral development banks need to dramatically increase their climate portfolios and step up efforts to help countries move to net zero and resilient economies. The developed world urgently needs to honor its pledge of at least $ 100 billion in annual climate finance for developing countries.
Donors and multilateral development banks should allocate at least half of their climate finance to adaptation and resilience.
The United Nations was founded 76 years ago to achieve consensus to act against the greatest threats facing humanity. But rarely have we been faced with a crisis like this – a truly existential crisis that – if not resolved – threatens not only us, but future generations.
There is a way forward. A 1.5 degree future is the only viable future for humanity.
Leaders need to get to work in Glasgow, before it’s too late, âthe editorial read.