UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Rear) speaks at the launch of the Emissions Gap Report 2023 of the UN Environment Programme, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Nov. 20, 2023. Guterres on Monday called for "record action" from world leaders to tackle climate change. (Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for "record action" from world leaders to tackle climate change.
Present climate trends are racing planet Earth down a dead-end three-degree temperature rise, he said at the launch of the Emissions Gap Report 2023 of the UN Environment Programme.
"In short, the report shows that the emissions gap is more like an emissions canyon -- a canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives, and broken records," said Guterres.
All of this is a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the vulnerable people, and a massive missed opportunity, he said. "Leaders must drastically up their game now, with record ambition, record action, and record emissions reductions."
The next round of national climate plans will be pivotal. These plans must be backed with the finance, technology, support and partnerships to make them possible. The task of leaders at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates (COP28) is to make sure that happens, he said.
COP28 will respond to the Global Stocktake -- an inventory of countries' climate plans that will show just how far the world is from meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. That response is vital. Voluntary initiatives and non-binding commitments can play an important role. But they are no substitute for a global response agreed by all, he said.
"The response to the Global Stocktake must light the fuse to an explosion of ambition in 2025. It must align with what the science tells us is needed. It must set out plans to massively increase ambition and investment in adaptation. It must commit to a surge in finance and cooperation. And it must set an expectation for more ambitious and detailed national climate plans," he said.
That means national plans with clear 2030 and 2035 targets, that align with 1.5 degrees, that cover the whole economy, and that plot a course for ending fossil fuels, he said.
Achieving all this depends on countries cooperating and working together. The recent climate statement between China and the United States is a positive first step. But much more needs to be done, said Guterres.
Achieving all this also depends on restoring trust between developed and developing countries, which has been badly damaged by broken promises and sluggish action, he said.
"At a time of doubt, division and distrust, we need the response to the Global Stocktake to restore credibility in climate action. Leaders can't kick the can any further. We're out of road. COP28 must set us up for dramatic climate action -- now," said Guterres. ■
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the launch of the Emissions Gap Report 2023 of the UN Environment Programme, at the UN headquarters in New York, on Nov. 20, 2023. Guterres on Monday called for "record action" from world leaders to tackle climate change. (Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)