Stressing that nothing less than tangible and credible climate action would do, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made it clear that new climate action and nature-based solutions need to move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of climate crisis. To make his point, Guterres announced he would convene a Climate Ambition Summit next September, and called on every leader to “step up – from governments, business, cities and regions, civil society and finance.”
Stating that the climate summit would be “a no-nonsense summit; No exceptions; No compromises, the UN chief said that there would be no room for back-sliders, green washers, blame-shifters or repackaging of announcements of previous years.
It would be convened alongside a General Assembly opening-week summit already in the calendar, designed to accelerate action at the halfway point towards the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Addressing the media at his end of year press conference here, Guterres said climate change is an area where good news can be hard to find. He also highlighted the deal UN’s Biodiversity Conference, COP15 to halt the destruction of ecosystems worldwide.
“We are finally starting to form a peace pact, with nature”, he said, urging all countries to deliver on their promises.
NO-NONSENSE SUMMIT; CLIMATE SOLIDARITY PACT
Guterres stressed that he would keep pushing for a Climate Solidarity Pact, in which all big emitters make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal and ensure support for those who need it.
Without it, he warned, “the 1.5 degree goal will soon disappear. I have pulled no punches on the imperative for all of us to confront this existential threat. And I will not relent.”
NO-NONSENSE SUMMIT; GLOBAL EMISSION GAP
The UN Chief also pointed out that the world was still “moving in the wrong direction” to limit emissions to just a 1.5 degree increase above pre-industrial levels despite pledges made at COP27 in Egypt and the biodiversity deal.
He said that the global emissions gap is growing.
“The 1.5 degree goal is gasping for breath. National climate plans are falling woefully short. And yet, we are not retreating. We are fighting back”, added the UN chief.
He said the international community was now “fighting back to restore trust between North and South”, with a deal over the long-stalled issued of Loss and Damage, at COP27.
REASONS FOR HOPE
Beginning his end of year press conference at UN Headquarters by looking back at 2022, he said that although there may be “plenty of reasons for despair”, amid the Ukraine war, and associated cost-of-living crisis leaving the poorest nations on “debt row”, that was not an option.
“This is not a time to sit on the sidelines, it is a time for resolve, determination, and – yes – even hope.
“Because despite the limitations and long odds, we are working to push back against despair, to fight back against disillusion and to find real solutions. Not perfect solutions – not even always pretty solutions – but practical solutions that are making a meaningful difference to people’s lives.
“Solutions that must put us on a pathway to a better, and more peaceful future.”