UN chief outlines three-year expectations in tackling climate change


In a key speech in New York City on Monday 10, September 2018, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has outlined his expectations for the next three years with regard to tackling climate change.
Reminding his audience of the accelerating impacts of climate change that are already clearly visible today – including extreme heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods this year – he said:
“If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.”
The UN’s top official spoke of the potential of clean technology to reduce climate change, which is meanwhile competitive with – and even cheaper – than coal and oil, especially if one factors in the cost of pollution.
Citing the New Climate Economy report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change released last week – and the many examples of the climate action that will be showcased at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week – he pointed out that climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually supportive, with gains of 26 trillion dollars predicted by 2030 compared with business as usual.
At the same time, Antonio Guterres voiced strong concerns that the speed of progress of international negotiations to agree the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement is too slow:
“What is missing – still, even after the clinching of the Paris Agreement – is leadership, a sense of urgency and a true commitment to a decisive multilateral response,” he said.
Antonio Guterres added that the next key moment for international climate action at governmental level will be the UN Cimate Change Conference in Poland in December.
He called on leaders to use every opportunity between now and then to resolve sticking points, including the G7 and G20 gatherings as well as meetings of the General Assembly, World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The UN Secretary-General also used his speech to make announcements regarding the Climate Summit he is convening in September of 2019 to bring climate action to the top of the international agenda.
The high-level gathering will come one year before countries are set to enhance their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.
“I am calling on all world leaders to come to next year’s Climate Summit prepared to report not only on what they are doing, but what more they intend to do when they convene in 2020 for the UN climate conference,” he said.