UN Secretary-General António Guterres Thursday urged world governments to move on from rhetoric to action while pursuing an ambitious deal to preserve the environment. The Portuguese diplomat's remarks came during the COP27 Climate Summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
The time for talking about loss and damage and finance is over. We need action, insisted Guterres. There is clearly a lack of trust between North and South, Guterres also told reporters. The most effective way to rebuild that trust is through an ambitious and credible agreement on loss and damage and financial support for developing countries, he added.
This is not the time for recriminations. Blaming each other is a recipe for mutual destruction, he warned while insisting that the time for talking about losses and damages and finances is over; we need action.
Guterres also called on countries to maintain their commitment to the goal of limiting the increase in the planet's average temperature to 1.5ºC compared to the pre-industrial era, a goal agreed upon in Paris in 2015, which seems to be rapidly receding in the face of reinvigorated consumption of fossil fuels. It's not just about keeping the 1.5°C target alive: it's about keeping people alive, Guterres underlined while urging the world's most developed nations to pledge funding in the amount of US$ 100 billion a year for developing countries to finance their cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation of their economies to climate change actions. All parties must act on the crucial issue of finance; the climate clock is ticking and confidence is eroding, Guterres stressed.
“We are at crunch time in the negotiations,” he also said. “Global emissions are at their highest level in history – and rising. Climate impacts are decimating economies and societies – and growing. We know what we need to do – and we have the tools and resources to get it done,” Guterres also pointed out as the world's wealthiest nations oppose creating a new loss and damage fund for fear it could expose them to limitless liability for their historic contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
“No one can deny the scale of loss and damage we see around the globe,” he said. “The world is burning and drowning before our eyes,” Guterres noted. “Fossil fuel expansion is hijacking humanity,” and ”any hope of meeting the 1.5 target requires a step change in emissions reductions.”