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18 Jul, 2022 20:47

World must choose between action and ‘suicide’ – UN

Secretary-General Guterres delivered a climate change ultimatum to a Berlin conference
World must choose between action and ‘suicide’ – UN

The world has a choice between “collective action and collective suicide” and must act immediately to address climate change, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday in a message to the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, Germany.

“Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise and ocean heat have broken new records. Half of humanity is in the danger zone from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune,” Guterres said in a video message.

“What troubles me most is that, in facing this global crisis, we are failing to work together as a multilateral community. Nations continue to play the blame game instead of taking responsibility for our collective future. We cannot continue this way,” the top UN official added. “Time is no longer on our side.”

This has to be the decade of decisive climate action. That means trust, multilateralism, and collaboration. We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide.

Guterres insisted the countries of the world “must rebuild trust and come together” to create a “concrete global response” on climate, including providing financial aid to those affected the most by environmental events.

The meeting in Germany convened representatives from 40 countries to discuss progress on implementing climate agreements, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and promote the switch to “sustainable energy sources” in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as agreed at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Scotland.

Those attending also engaged in preparations for the COP27 World Climate Conference, scheduled for November in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Earlier this month, Guterres called for a “renewable energy revolution” and demanded a moratorium on coal power plants and any further oil and gas exploration worldwide. His comments come amid turmoil in several countries that have tried implementing reforms in the name of curbing global warming. 

The government of Sri Lanka, which had banned industrial fertilizers, was ousted last week by crowds protesting food and fuel shortages. Farmers in the Netherlands protesting emissions caps have clashed with the police, while Ghana’s plan to switch to “green” energy has left the African country facing lengthy blackouts.