UN urges countries to declare ‘state of climate emergency’
Saturday, 12 December 2020
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called on the world to “declare a state of climate emergency.”
His call came in an address to the opening session of a virtual summit aimed at relaunching efforts to fight global warming, five years after the Paris Agreement.
“Five years after Paris, we are still not going in the right direction,” the UN Secretary-General said at the Climate Ambition Summit. “Paris promised to limit temperature rise to as close to 1.5°C as possible, but the commitments made in Paris were far from enough to get there.”
However, “even those commitments are not being met,” he told the summit, which is to be attended by dozens of heads of State and Government.
“I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a state of climate emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached,” Mr. Guterres said. ”Some 38 countries have already done so, recognizing the urgency and the stakes. I urge all others to follow.”
He warned that promises were not enough. To achieve the targets set in 2015, considerable efforts have to be made to cut global emissions by 45% by the year 2030 compared to 2010 levels, he said.
The targets set for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions need to be clearly reaffirmed by the Paris accord signatories in the revised and strengthened national contributions that they are scheduled to submit before the 26th Conference of Parties, to be held in Glasgow. Originally set for November 2020, COP26 was postponed for a year because of the novel Coronavirus.
To relaunch the effort to fight climate change, the United Nations, the United Kingdom (which will chair the COP) and France, in partnership with Chile (which chairs COP25) and Italy, decided to organise Saturday’s summit online.
Speakers at the meeting were selected based on how ambitious their climate goals were, according to the organisers, who promised there would be no place for general statements.
The list of speakers does not include Brazil and Australia, whose efforts have been deemed insufficient, or Belgium.