U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday (September 20) said that time was running out to tackle climate change, thanks in part to the “naked greed” of fossil fuel interests. The UN Secretary-General was addressing the climate summit of the leaders at the UN General Assembly.
“Humanity has opened the gates of hell. Horrendous heat is having horrendous effects. Distraught farmers watching crops carried away by floods. Sweltering temperatures spawning disease. And thousands fleeing in fear as historic fires rage,” the UN Secretary-General said in despair.
With the two-week U.N. climate summit, COP28, due to start on November 29 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Guterres implored national policymakers to phase out climate-warming fossil fuels.
“The move from fossil fuels to renewables is happening – but we are decades behind,” Guterres said at the start of the one-day summit. “We must make up time lost to foot-dragging, arm-twisting and the naked greed of entrenched interests raking in billions from fossil fuels.”
Guterres invited 34 countries to speak on Wednesday in recognition of their strong action on climate change, including Brazil, Canada, Pakistan, South Africa and the island nation of Tuvalu.
“Neither Africa nor the developing world stands in need of charity handouts or harms from the developed countries. What we need is fairness. A fair financial system, fair market access for green assets, products and services. Fair national regional trade mechanisms which promote fair competition to facilitate efficient deployment of capital in locations offering the highest comparative advantage for global decarbonization,” said Kenya’s President William Rutto.
Developed economies are greatly responsible for adding to greenhouse gases and global warming but are known to doing very little, as the impact is faced by developing nations. “Our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is less than 1%. The G20 is responsible for 80% of the emissions. The pursuit of profit over the well-being of humanity is not right. It is unjust,” said Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa’s Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President added that prompt investments is needed before countries meet in Dubai and also meet the $100 billion climate finance goal. The European Union will contribute its fair share of $27 billion as we did the last years, she continued.
Their has been a continued discussion on discouraging the use of fossil fuels. The climate is suffering due to the adverse impacts of fossil fuel burnings. “This climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. This climate crisis persists. It’s not complicated. It’s not complicated. It’s the burning of oil. It’s the burning of gas. It’s the burning of coal. And we need to call that out. For decades and decades, the oil industry has been playing each and every one of us in this room for fools,” said Governor of California, Gavin Newsom.
The PM of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal stressed that the upcoming COP28 will be significant in the context. “The global during COP 28 must be a moment of critical course correction to keep alive the 1.5 degree target. We are passing frequent and highly damaging climate disasters. Despite challenges Nepal is committed to the Paris Agreement and to our national goal to reach net zero by 2045,” he said.
(Inputs from Reuters)