Pressure continues to build on increasingly anxious world leaders to step up efforts to tackle climate change
For the second time in four days, this time from UN headquarters in New York, leaders on Monday heard calls to further reduce heat-trapping gas emissions and give poorer countries more money. to develop cleaner energy and adapt to worsening impacts. of climate change.
In a private session lasting more than two hours, some 40 world leaders made “encouraging statements” on the financial front, but “there is still a long way to go” in reducing emissions, told the press the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. after. He gave no details.
“We need decisive action now to avert a climate catastrophe and for that we need solidarity,” Guterres said at a post-session press conference on Monday, he told world leaders. “There is a high risk of failure” in huge climate talks six weeks from now.
Earlier, in a weekend interview, he described himself as “not desperate, but I am extremely worried”.
US President Joe Biden, who hosted a similar closed-door climate meeting on Friday, will address the issue and the US obligations when he visits the United Nations on Tuesday, according to a senior administration official who s ‘is expressed on condition of anonymity to preview the president’s remarks. The upcoming climate talks in Scotland this fall are designed to be the next step after the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
“We all agree that ‘something must be done’,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told leaders, according to a statement released by his office. “Yet I admit that I am increasingly frustrated that ‘something’ that many of you have committed to is nowhere near enough. It is the world’s largest economies that cause the problem, while the smaller ones suffer the worst consequences. “
Johnson said leaders should “rid the world of coal power and internal combustion engines” and stop deforestation, while rich countries must meet their pledge to spend $ 100 billion a year to help countries the poorest to cope with climate change.
“It is the developing world that bears the brunt of catastrophic climate change,” Johnson said at a press conference on Monday. “We are the guys who created the problem. … I understand the feelings of injustice in the developing world and the passionate appeals we have just heard from Costa Rica, the Maldives and other countries.
If all the planned coal plants are built, Gutteres said, “the Paris targets would go up in smoke.”
This week’s focus on climate change comes at the end of another summer of extreme weather-related disasters, including devastating wildfires in the western United States, deadly flooding in the United States , in China and Europe, a drumbeat of deadly tropical cyclones around the world and unprecedented heat waves everywhere.
Achieving some success in emission reduction pledges or financial aid during the week of UN sessions would ease the way for a deal in Glasgow, just as the first pollution reduction announcements did in 2015, especially those from China and the United States, according to experts. noted. Now these two nations are essential again. But, said Guterres, their relationship is “totally dysfunctional.”
Nigel Purvis, former US State Department climate negotiator and CEO of private company Climate Advisers, said political forces heading to Glasgow do not appear as optimistic as they were four months ago after a virtual climate summit in Biden.
As world leaders gather, activists, other government leaders and business representatives gather in New York City for Climate Week, a giant cheerleader for the action that coincides with the UN high-level meeting. And throughout the week, the pressure is on the rich countries, the G-20, to do more.
Boasting Europe’s green stimulus packages, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Climate Week opening crowd that rich countries must provide financial aid “to help countries developing not to fall into the trap of the fossil fuel economy but to jump “into an economy based on renewable energy.
A UN report released on Friday showed that current commitments to reduce carbon emissions put the world on track for 2.7 degrees Celsius warming since the pre-industrial era. It exceeds even Paris’s weakest goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
“It’s catastrophic,” Guterres said in the interview. “The world couldn’t live with a 2.7 degree temperature rise. “
Guterres is pushing for rich countries to meet their long-standing commitments of $ 100 billion a year in climate assistance to poor countries, at least half of which will help them cope with the impacts of global warming. So far, the world is running out of around $ 75 billion by 2025, according to a new Oxfam study.