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UN Chief: No More Greenwashing & No More Foot Dragging as Alarming Emissions Gap Revealed in Report


UNSG Antonio Guterres Press Conference Nov 20, 2023: Photo Credit: UN Spokesperson Office

By: ATN News


UNHQ: In a compelling press conference today, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a stark warning, emphasizing the urgent need for concrete action to address the escalating climate crisis. Guterres highlighted the alarming findings of the latest Emissions Gap report, revealing that without immediate intervention, emissions in 2030 will soar 22 gigatons above the 1.5-degree limit, equivalent to the total annual emissions of the USA, China, and the EU combined.


The report paints a grim picture of rising greenhouse gas emissions, breaking temperature records and propelling the planet towards a perilous three-degree temperature increase. Guterres described the emissions gap as more of an "emissions canyon," lamenting the broken promises, lives, and records left in its wake, attributing this failure to leadership and a missed opportunity.


Guterres stressed the affordability and accessibility of renewables, calling for the eradication of the root cause—the use of fossil fuels. The Secretary-General urged leaders to step up their efforts with record ambition, action, and emissions reductions, emphasizing the pivotal role of the upcoming COP28 and the importance of national climate plans.


"No more greenwashing. No more foot dragging," Guterres declared, emphasizing the need for clear market signals to drive down emissions. He called for governments to provide policies and regulations to give the private sector certainty and predictability, while also underscoring the importance of credible action from businesses.


The Secretary-General outlined specific targets for countries in response to the Global Stocktake, urging them to triple renewables capacity, double energy efficiency, and bring clean power to all by 2030. Additionally, he demanded a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels with a clear timeline aligned to the 1.5-degree limit.


The success of these initiatives, Guterres emphasized, relies on global cooperation and trust, citing the recent climate statement between China and the USA as a positive step. He called for developed countries to announce their contributions to the Green Climate Fund and urged generous early contributions to the new Loss and Damage Fund.


Guterres concluded by reinforcing the need for developed countries to honor their promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance and deliver a clear plan to double adaptation finance by at least $40 billion annually by 2025.


In response to questions, Guterres expressed hope for a concrete turning point at COP28, urging a clear signal from governments to phase out fossil fuels. Regarding the Middle East, he called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, unrestricted humanitarian aid access, and the end of violations of international humanitarian law. Guterres proposed a strengthened Palestinian Authority assuming responsibilities in Gaza post-conflict, leading towards a two-state solution.


As the world awaits COP28, Secretary-General Guterres's passionate plea echoes the dire need for immediate, bold action to combat climate change, turning the tide on the current trajectory toward irreversible environmental damage.

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