“Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?”
The UN secretary general, António Guterres called on all world leaders at the recently held 2020 Climate Ambition Summit, to declare a ‘state of climate emergency’ in order to curb the ominous effects of global warming.
The UN, UK and France co-hosted the summit together with Chile and Italy on 13th December, and more than 70 world leaders gathered virtually to encourage countries to implement stricter measures for achieving carbon neutrality.
The summit also marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, however, Guterres noted that the current commitments across the world are “far from enough” to limit the rise in global temperatures and we could face “a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century,” if leaders don’t pay heed to warnings.
“Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Guterres said.
He added that economic recovery packages launched in the wake of the ongoing pandemic were an opportunity to act on climate, however, G20 countries had so far spent 50% more of their stimulus on sectors linked to fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy.
Guterres highlighted that “trillions of dollars needed for COVID recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations”, and that it was unacceptable to use “these resources to lock in policies that burden future generations with a mountain of debt on a broken planet.”
He stressed that every country needed to step up in their efforts to save the planet for the future generations.
Thirty-eight states have already declared a state of climate emergency, including New Zealand, which committed to a carbon-neutral government by 2025, branding it as “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
The UK announced a goal of cutting emissions by 68% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who had earlier announced his nation would become carbon neutral by 2060, revealed targets to speed the expansion of wind and solar power.
Others including Argentina, Barbados, Canada, Colombia, Iceland , India, Pakistan and Peru also made statements in relation to their emission targets.
‘A challenge far worse and destructive than coronavirus’
Addressing the summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “My message to you all is that together we can use scientific advances to protect our entire planet, our biosphere against a challenge far worse, far more destructive than coronavirus.”
However, green activists criticized the leaders for going far enough.
Climate scientist Dr Hausfather said that it very difficult to hit net zero by 2050 since “we’re not just talking about building a lot of wind and solar, we are talking about decarbonising every single sector of the economy: agriculture, industry, transport, aviation.”
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