Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Secretary-General Guterres calls for more ambition to tackle climate change

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at COP23, Bonn/Germany | ©UN

Addressing the United Nations Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn/Germany, on Wednesday, Secretary-General António Guterres told representatives of almost 200 nations that a shift to cleaner energies would boost rather than hamper economic growth.

The Secretary-General also called for more ambition, more leadership and more partnerships to tackle climate change. “Climate change is the defining threat of our time. Our duty – to each other and to future generations – is to raise ambition”, Guterres said at the opening of the high-level segment of COP23, which was also attended by Heads of State and Government, including French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, who is also the President of COP23.

Governments should put a price on carbon emissions to help combat global warming and stop making bad bets on fossil fuels, Guterres pointed out. The Secretary-General also highlighted that the world may have only five years to take measures needed to meet the most ambitious target of keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. He told leaders, ministers and negotiators that although this will require sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the steps are still achievable.

Guterres urged leaders to “show courage in combatting entrenched interests” in fighting climate change: “Show wisdom in investing in the opportunities of the future. Show compassion in caring what kind of world we build for our children”.

The Bonn Conference, which opened on 6 November 2017, is taking place a year after the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement. Negotiations in Bonn will conclude this coming Friday.


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