United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has warned that the world is moving fast to a state of ecological disaster while urging for a pact between the world’s richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Speaking to countries gathered at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt on Monday, November 7, Gutteres said cointris they face a stark choice: work together now to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe.
The speech was intended to set an urgent tone as governments sit down for two weeks of talks on how to avert the worst impacts of climate change, see despite current global challenges like Russia’s war in Ukraine, rampant consumer inflation and energy shortages.
“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told delegates gathered in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
“The two largest economies – the United States and China – have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this pact a reality,” he said.
Guterres asked countries to agree to phase out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intense fuels, by 2040 globally, with members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development hitting that mark by 2030.
“Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”
Signatories to the 2015 Paris climate agreement pledged to achieve a long-term goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Scientists have set this as the ceiling for avoiding catastrophic climate change.
“It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact,” Gutteres concluded.