Sep 22, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Governments across the world must summon the full force of their fiscal policymaking powers, to make the shift to green economies, end the practice of subsidizing fossil fuels, and for the developed world to make good on its promise to provide the developing world with much needed mitigation and adaption, climate change financial support.
This, in addition to taxing carbon and pollution emitters, such as ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel producers, instead of people’s income, to more easily make the switch to sustainable green jobs, else the lofty targets that are set out in the Paris Accord, “will go up in smoke.”
This clarion call was made by United Nations (UN) Secretary General (SG), Antonio Guterres, yesterday, during his address to the 76th Session of the UN’s General Assembly confab, currently being held at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
Guyana’s Head of State, President Irfaan Ali, was among the delegates at the General Assembly, when Guterres cautioned World Leaders, “the climate alarm bells are also ringing at fever pitch,” and reminded that, “the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a code red for humanity.”
According to Guterres, “we see the warning signs in every continent and region; scorching temperatures, shocking biodiversity loss, polluted air, water and natural spaces, and climate-related disasters at every turn.”
He used the occasion to reference the recent flooding in New York, where the UN is headquartered, to point out, “as we saw recently, not even this city — the financial capital of the world — is immune.”
Expressing some level of optimism, however, the UN SG reminded World Leaders “climate scientists tell us it is not too late to keep alive the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Climate Agreement…But the window is rapidly closing.”
He reminded them that “we need a 45 percent cut in emissions by 2030”, but pointed out, “a recent UN report made clear that with present national climate commitments, emissions will (instead) go up by 16 percent by 2030.
According to Guterres, “that would condemn us to a hellscape of temperature rises, of at least 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial levels – a catastrophe.”
Contrasting the emissions reality and its effects, Guterres reported that the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) just reported a gap of at least US$20 billion in essential and promised climate finance to developing countries.
Reminding the World Leaders present that “we are weeks away from the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow,” he suggested, the world is still “seemingly light years away from reaching our targets.”
As such, he was unwavering in his demand, “we must get serious, and we must act fast.”
According to Guterres, “we must bridge the climate divide” and that this “requires bridging trust between North and South.”
To this end, he said it starts by doing “all we can now to create the conditions for success in Glasgow” when world leaders will meet again for the 26th UN’s Council of Parties (COP) Climate Change confab.
As such, the UN Secretary General said “we need more ambition from all countries in three key areas — mitigation, finance and adaptation.”
He qualified his position by elucidating, “…more ambition on mitigation — means countries committing to carbon neutrality by mid-century — and to concrete 2030 emissions reductions targets that will get us there, backed up with credible actions now.”
According to Guterres, “more ambition on finance — means developing nations finally seeing the promised US$100 billion dollars a year for climate action, fully mobilizing the resources of both international financial institutions and the private sector, too.”
More ambition on adaptation, he said, “means developed countries living up to their promise of credible support to developing countries to build resilience to save lives and livelihoods. This means 50 percent of all climate finance provided by developed countries and multilateral development banks should be dedicated to adaptation.”
In delivering his remarks, the UN Secretary General lauded the African Development Bank, which he said, “set the bar in 2019 by allocating half of its climate finance to adaptation.”
Some donor countries, according to Guterres “have followed their lead” but “all must do so, don’t wait for others to make the first move, do your part.”
According to UN’s Secretary General, the climate change phenomenon and its demands, “is a planetary emergency” and reiterated an end to subsidies for the fossil fuels industry, freeing up resources to invest back into healthcare, education, renewable energy, sustainable food systems, and social protections for their people.
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