Climate action ‘reckoning’


As the right to development goes together with the right to a clean, healthy, sustainable environment, “we must end the merciless, relentless, senseless war on nature,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres repeating a message that has become a mantra for his tenure.

“2023 is a year of reckoning. It must be a year of game-changing climate action. We need disruption to end the destruction.” he said on Monday, presenting his priorities for the year.

Countries are hurtling past the 1.5-degree limit on global temperature rise, therefore focus must be on the urgent priorities of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and achieving climate justice.

He said global emissions must be halved this decade, including through “far more ambitious action” in shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy, especially in the G20 group of industrialised nations.

Additionally, businesses, cities, regions and financial institutions that have pledged net-zero carbon emissions, must present their transition plans, with credible and ambitious targets, by this September.

“I have a special message for fossil fuel producers and their enablers scrambling to expand production and raking in monster profits. If you cannot set a credible course for net-zero, with 2025 and 2030 targets covering all your operations, you should not be in business,” said Guterres.

Climate action is impossible without adequate finance, and the Secretary-General urged richer countries to, at minimum, deliver on promises made at the UN COP27 climate change conference in Egypt last year.

These commitments include establishing a fund to address loss and damage, doubling adaptation funding, and advancing plans on early warning systems globally within the next five years.

The Secretary-General will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September, ahead of the COP28 conference in the United Arab Emirates in December.

It will be open to all government, business and society leaders, he said, though under one condition: “Show us accelerated action in this decade and renewed ambitious net zero plans – or please don’t show up, said the UN Secretary General…. PACNEWS