#UN;# UNSDGs#Tokyo2020OlympicandParalympicGames; #SDGs; #AwardCeremonypodiums; #RecycledPlasticVictoryCeremonyPodiumProject
Tokyo (Japan), Dec 19 (Canadian-Media): United Nations and Tokyo 2020 are working together to promote the SDGs through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to highlight the contribution of sports towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN reports said.
The United Nations Information Centre in Tokyo (UNIC Tokyo) placed a collection box for plastic packaging waste in the United Nations University (UNU) building lobby in support of one of Tokyo 2020’s projects for sustainability called “Be better, together – For the planet and people”.
The first-ever Olympic and Paralympic Games award ceremony podiums would be made of plastic waste collected from the people under the project “Recycled Plastic Victory Ceremony Podium Project,” which encourages people to contribute their household plastic packaging to be recycled for the this project.
Japan is the second-largest producer of plastic packaging waste per capita (see the UN Environment Programme 2018 report). The podium project aims to propose a new model for single-use plastic recycling, supporting the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular responsible consumption and production.
“I hope this project encourages people to review their lifestyles that are dependent on single-use plastics, and to take steps to live more sustainably,” says UNIC Tokyo Director Kaoru Nemoto.
As one of many collection boxes throughout Japan, the box at UNU is available for two months, November and December 2019, for any visitors to donate their empty shampoo bottles, detergent containers, and other forms of household plastic packaging. The initiative is supported by Procter & Gamble, a Tokyo 2020 partner company, who has not only provided the collection boxes but will also produce the victory ceremony podiums.
Tokyo 2020 Medal Project
UNIC Tokyo also supported the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project”, which successfully collected used small electronic devices for metal to manufacture approximately 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals. Every single medal that will be awarded during the Tokyo 2020 Games is made from recycled metals contributed by people all over Japan.
As with all large events, the management of waste produced during the Games is a huge challenge. Still, Tokyo 2020’s podium and medal projects prove that sustainability initiatives can be developed with the help of communities, starting well before the actual events, inspiring people to think and act to achieve the SDGs.
#COP25UNClimateConference; #ClimateChange; #UN; #UNClimateChange; #Madrid
Geneva, Dec 15 (Canadian-Media): Negotiations at the COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid finally ended on Sunday, wrapping up an event which saw much progress made by the private sector, and by national, regional and local governments. However, there was widespread disappointment that no overall consensus was reached on increased climate ambition, UN reports said..
Friday for Future demonstration at COP25: UNFCCC
UN chief António Guterres expressed his feelings on Twitter, but refused to see the conference as a defeat, and wrote that he is “more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise”.
However, by Friday, when the conference had been expected to end, agreement on some important issues had been reached by negotiators, for example on capacity building, a gender programme, and technology, but an overall deal was held up over disagreement on the larger, and more contentious issues dealing with loss and damage caused by man-made climate change, as well as financing for adaptation.
Weary negotiators worked through Friday night, at the request of the Chilean president of the COP, but a draft version of the outcome text released on Saturday morning was reported to have underwhelmed all parties to the negotiations, with representatives of NGOs and civil society describing it as unacceptable, and a betrayal of the commitments made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
At 3 pm local time on Saturday afternoon, a press conference was held by the COP organisers, explaining that the negotiators were still hard at work, aiming to “show the outside world that we can deliver, that multilateralism works."
By Saturday evening, there was still no sign of a deal, prompting acclaimed 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, one of the high-profile speakers at the Climate Action Summit held at UN Headquarters in September, to announce that “it seems like COP25 in Madrid is falling apart right now. The science is clear, but the science is being ignored”.
Improved commitments announced at all levels
Despite the disappointment voiced at the contents of the outcome document, several announcements made during the two-week conference to indicate progress. The European Union, for example, committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, and 73 nations announced that they will submit an enhanced climate action plan (or Nationally Determined Contribution). A groundswell of ambition for a cleaner economy was also evident a regional and local level, with 14 regions, 398 cities, 786 businesses and 16 investors are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
Discussions held during COP25 broadened the understanding of the science behind the climate crisis, and the critical need for urgency: the UN Global Compact, which works with the private sector, announced that 177 companies have now agreed to set science-based climate targets that align with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. That is double the number of companies that signed up to the pledge at the Climate Action Summit, representing private sector emissions equivalent to the annual total CO2 emissions of France.
Scottish bagpipes were heard in Madrid on Friday, marking next year’s climate conference, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26, due to be held in December 2020, is being touted as an important milestone in the fight against climate change, because countries will be expected to present upgraded national climate plans, that go beyond commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
#ClimateChange; #ClimateCrisis; #Sweden
Thunberg, 16, was lauded by Time for starting an environmental campaign in August 2018 that became a global movement, initially skipping school and camping out in front of the Swedish parliament to demand action, media reports said.
Greta Thunberg. Image credit: Twitter handle
"In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the Pope, sparred with the president of the United States and inspired four million people to join the global climate strike on Sept. 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history," the magazine said.
"Margaret Atwood compared her to Joan of Arc. After noticing a hundredfold increase in its usage, lexicographers at Collins Dictionary named Thunberg's pioneering idea, climate strike, the word of the year," Time said.
"Greta embodies the moral authority of the youth activist movement demanding that we act immediately to solve the climate crisis. She is an inspiration to me and to people across the world," said former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, a longtime environmentalist and added that the magazine had made an excellent choice of reluctant celebrity.
Thunberg, who turns 17 in January, is in Madrid designed to avert potentially catastrophic global warming.
Before the Time honour was announced, in her speech at Madrid at a United Nations climate summit addressing world leaders, Thunberg said,
"It seems to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition...I'm sure that if people heard what was going on and what was said…during these meetings, they would be outraged...This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here..."You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," Thunberg said.
The UN Secretary-General has called on business and civil society leaders to press Governments into articulating policies that support private sector efforts to address climate change.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the high-level meeting on Caring for Climate at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid. Image credit: UNFCCC
António Guterres issued the charge on Wednesday in a speech to the annual Caring for Climate Meeting, held during the on-going UN COP25 climate conference in Madrid.
“I’m meeting more and more business leaders that complain that they cannot do more because governments will not allow them to do so, because of the environment that is still created in the bureaucratic, administrative, tax regulatory and other frameworks that are under government control”, he said.
Business sector fights climate change Caring for Climate mobilizes business leaders to implement and recommend solutions and policies to beat climate change.
It was launched in 2007 and is convened by the UN Global Compact, the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
With the climate crisis increasingly jeopardizing life on the planet, the Secretary-General stressed that more collective action will be needed from governments, regions, cities, businesses and civil society.
“While we see some incremental steps towards sustainable business models, it is nowhere near the scope or scale required”, he said.
“What we need is not an incremental approach, but a transformational approach. And we need businesses to unite behind the science by taking rapid and ambitious action across their operations and value chains.”
The “science” refers to the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
This will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming, by 45 per cent by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Business and finance cannot act alone Business and financial leaders have been doing their part to beat climate change, as the Secretary-General acknowledged.
He was encouraged that 170 major companies have committed to set scientific, verifiable emission reduction targets through the ‘Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees’ campaign.
However, he said the business and financial sectors cannot act alone.
Next year, many governments will present plans to reduce their emissions, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Mr. Guterres forecast that these enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will include carbon neutral strategies and green initiatives in sectors such as energy, industry, construction and transport.
“In support of these efforts, I am calling on you, leaders from the private sector and civil society, to challenge your Governments to use this opportunity to make clear their economic development policies that will enable your companies to invest decisively in a net-zero future,” he said.
The UN chief added that millions worldwide, particularly young people, recognize that more must be done to limit the worst impacts of climate disruption.
“That’s why they are calling on leaders from all sectors to do exponentially more to address the climate emergency,” he said. “We are quickly nearing our last opportunity to be on the right side of history.”
Youth climate activist, Greta Thunberg, addresses the high-level meeting on Caring for Climate at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid. Credit: UNFCCC
Greta Thunberg’s visit
The teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was at the UN conference on Wednesday, urging participants to focus on the science behind climate change.
She explained it was important to keep to the 1.5-degree threshold “because even at one degree, people are dying from the climate crisis.”
“Because that is what the united science calls for, to avoid destabilizing the climate so that we have the best possible chance to avoid setting off irreversible chain reactions such as melting glaciers, polar ice and thawing arctic permafrost. Every fraction of a degree matters.”
Ms. Thunberg told world leaders at the UN’s Climate Action Summit in September that they were “failing” her generation, by not taking action to ease the climate crisis fast enough, and on Wednesday, the 16-year-old Swede who founded the school strike movement, was named by TIME magazine as their 2019 Person of the Year.
Korea, Dec 10 (Canadian-Media): It is “imperative” that the COP25 climate conference underway in Spain delivers “significant results now”, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), said on Tuesday.
Storm clouds forming over Banghwa-ri in Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea. Image credit: WMO/Injoo Hong
“Science is unequivocal on the urgency to act, both at global and national levels”, he told the conference to address the climate crisis - officially known as the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The official opening ceremony of the high-level segment of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP 25. (10 December 2019), by UN Climate Change/James Dowson
Mr. Muhammad-Bande recalled the consensus reached through the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in temperature to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and efforts to hold it to 1.5ºC.
And yet, if current trends in global emissions continue, they will cause further warming; and humans will face increasingly severe and extreme weather events.
“Lands are being degraded. Forests, ecosystems and biodiversity are being lost. Our oceans are facing pollution, acidification and loss of coastal habitats”, he spelled out.
Recurrent climate disasters are becoming global and borderless; causing unprecedented human and socioeconomic costs; and threatening progress in reducing global poverty and improving people’s lives.
Let’s not ‘go down with the ship
’Risk reduction measures have the potential to “safeguard up to 280 million people at risk of displacement due to sea level rise”.
“It is our decision: to go down with this ship or to change course immediately”, he underscored. “This is the time to act”.
“We are defined by our actions, and every day we have a moral obligation to take action in favour of the next generation and beyond”, Mr. Muhammad-Bande concluded. “I am confident we will rise to this challenge”.
Nuclear energy solutions
On his first official trip as the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi highlighted the role that nuclear power can play in the global transition to clean energy.
“Variable renewables, such as solar and wind, are vital to the clean energy transition, but they alone cannot meet countries’ growing energy needs”, he maintained, adding that nuclear energy can “provide the continuous, low-carbon power to back up increasing use of renewables”.
Moreover, nuclear power can be “the key that unlocks their full potential by providing flexible support – day or night, rain or shine”, upheld the IAEA chief.
And many States believe that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve sustainable development and meet global climate goals without significant use of nuclear energy.
He pointed out that “nuclear power provides around one-third of the world’s low-carbon electricity and already plays a significant role in mitigating climate change”.
Out of time“Each year at COP we are told that the window of opportunity could close soon”, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said on the urgency of climate action.
“The window of opportunity is closing now,” she warned. “My message is this. We need your decisions. We need your leadership. We are out of time.”
Action for the most vulnerable
People around the world are being affected by one extreme weather event after another. But refugees, stateless people, and internally displaced often reside in climate change "hotspots", leaving them exposed to secondary displacements, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
So Tuesday saw the timely launch by 12 international organizations of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, agreeing to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to deliver high-quality weather forecasts, early warning systems and hydrological and climate services.
The window of opportunity is closing now – UN Climate Change chief
Pointing out that “the science is clear”, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, told COP25 that “ambitious climate action requires countries to be equipped with the most reliable warnings and best available climate information services”.
“The Alliance is the vehicle to collectively scale-up our support to the most vulnerable”, he concluded.
For her part, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Laura Tuck underlined the important role of the Alliance.
“It’s good to see everyone formally coming together through this Alliance and committing to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in the provision of hydromet and early warning services,” she said. “This will help ensure we are coherent, consistent, and efficient in the way we are supporting countries to prepare for climate risks and protect people.”
COP25 will lay the groundwork for next year’s defining climate change conference, when countries must submit new climate action plans under the Paris Agreement.
A six-fold rise in Caribbean children displaced by storms shows climate crisis is a child rights issue: UNICEF
#UN; #CaribbeanIsland; #ChildrenDisplacedByStorm; #UNICEF: #ClimateCrisis; #ChildrenRights
Caribbean Island, Dec 6 (Canadian-Media): A six fold increase in the number of Caribbean children displaced by storms in the past five years amounting to 175,000 was revealed by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)'s new report released on Friday is a stark reminder that the climate crisis is a child right crisis, UN reports said.
A seven-year old boy stands in front of debris as Hurricane Irma moves off from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Image credit: © UNICEF/UN0119399
“Children in storm and flood-prone nations around the world are among the most vulnerable to having their lives and rights upended...the international community should act now to mitigate its most devastating consequences,” said Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Put children at heart of climate action
UNICEF recalled that the Caribbean was slammed by a series of catastrophic tropical cyclones or hurricanes between 2016 and 2018, including four Category 5 storms.
The agency has been providing lifesaving assistance for children and families across the Caribbean affected by the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
More than 400,000 children were displaced that year alone.
The report, Children Uprooted in the Caribbean: How stronger hurricanes linked to a changing climate are driving child displacement, warns that without urgent climate action, displacement levels are likely to remain high in the coming decades.
UNICEF is calling on Governments to put children at the heart of climate change strategies and response plans, and to protect them from its impacts.
Authorities also are urged to provide displaced children with protection and access to education, healthcare and other essential services, among other recommendations.
#India; #recyclingPlasticWaste; #UN; #ClimateChange; #UNDP
India. Dec 3 (Canadian-Media): The recycling of plastic waste in India is boosting the incomes of impoverished women and helping build roads and fire cement furnaces, thanks to support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Waste pickers sort through a garbage dump in India. Image credit: UNDP
Waste collectors, or ragpickers as they are known more colloquially in the cities of Bhopal and Indore, in Madhya Pradesh state, are being encouraged to hand over plastic waste to local collection centres.
Single-use plastics, which would have ended up in landfill sites, are now being used to fuel cement furnaces and build roads, providing an additional income source for the ragpickers.
Improved Plastic Waste Management Builds Roads & Livelihoods for women in India.
Plastics constitute a growing threat to our environment - and in turn, human well-being - affecting the world’s freshwater systems and marine resources in particular, as well as terrestrial biodiversity and public health.
In India, where plastic use is rising, most cities and towns do not have an integrated solid waste management system.
This means that very little plastic waste is properly collected or disposed of, resulting in a massive waste-management challenge as cities continue to grow.
But in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, waste collectors in two cities, Bhopal and Indore, are turning plastic waste into roads, as well as income for women.
A Circular Solution
India generates about 100 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every day, only about 24 per cent of which is recycled, while the rest is dumped in landfills.
Bhopal generates ≈800 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Around 120 million tonnes (or ≈15 per cent) is plastic waste, and approximately 60-70 per cent of the total waste is dumped into landfills.
In the city of Indore, home to almost 2 million people, 800-900 metric tonnes of waste are generated every day, 14% of which is plastic – enough to fill 5-7 shipping containers.
Urban waste management is one of the top priorities of the Government of India and local and affordable innovations in this sector are highly valued.
In this context the ‘circular economy’ concept - an economic system intended to eliminate waste and the ever-increasing use of resources - offers a pathway to more sustainable resource management. It means reduced production, use, and disposal of plastics.
Through the single powerful objective of reduce > reuse > recycle, waste collectors in Bhopal and Indore are working to prevent cast-off plastic from entering the environment in the first place.
A Plastic Waste Revolution
With the support of the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, a local NGO in India is working with municipal governments to develop a new system for plastic waste recycling.
The NGO, Sarthak Samudayik Vikas Avan Jan Kalyan Sanstha (SSVAJKS), has been working with waste collectors in Bhopal since 2008 to streamline plastic waste collection and sales to recyclers.
SSVAJKS initially developed a sustainable integrated waste management system for five wards in the city of Bhopal, which served as a model for the creation of a plastic waste management policy at the state level in 2011. This model has now been replicated in all states across India (and even onwards to Bangladesh).
This innovative model, now known as the ‘Bhopal model’, recycles and processes plastic and reuses it in the construction of roads, benefiting over two million people.
‘Ragpickers’ – the local term for such waste collectors - are individuals whose livelihood is picking over refuse in landfill sites or elsewhere to salvage goods and materials for recycling or reuse. They are mostly poor, illiterate, female, and come from socially marginalised castes, rendering them highly vulnerable.
Waste-pickers collect and then hand over the plastic waste to collection centres run by the municipal corporation.
The plastic waste is scanned and segregated, and most single-use plastics — which comprise half of all the plastic in this waste stream — are shredded and baled.
These bales are then taken for co-processing at cement kilns, or used to build roads.
It’s a win-win: not only do the waste-collectors - one of the more vulnerable cohorts in Indian society – double their wages, something useful is done with the plastic litter.
In 2010, in close collaboration with the municipal corporations of Bhopal and the Municipal Commissioner, SGP provided an initial grant that enabled SSVAJKS to conduct focussed interventions in five wards of Bhopal Municipal Corporation. Part of the interventions included organising waste-pickers into self-help groups (SHGs).
In 2014, SSVAJKS was awarded another SGP grant to mobilise more than 2,000 unorganised waste-pickers in 70 wards of Bhopal Municipal Corporation.
A crucial element of the project’s success was SSVAJKS’ partnership with urban municipal governments and local industries.
Through the self-help groups, the waste collectors - many of whom are socially marginalised and illiterate women - have been organised and trained in waste collection and recycling activities.
The majority of these waste collectors have been provided with municipal identity cards and uniforms through this project.
Improving their livelihoods and protecting the environment, these women contribute to the approximately 10 tonnes of plastic waste that are collected at five recovery centres in Bhopal every day, and then recycled by cement industries in and around the city.
‘I’ve been sorting waste for 15 years. Polythene bags, glass, plastic and more: we pick up all of this stuff of the roads. We used to collect dirty plastic bags from the street and the plastic traders would offer us less money per kilogram because the bags were dirty. And people would stop us from collecting trash and tell us to leave their colony. Now that we work with the municipality, no one tells us to stop. In fact, they now ask us to come and pick up waste’ - Meera Gosai, waste collector, 1 of 3,200 waste collectors involved in segregating plastic waste in Indore, India .
By the end of 2016, 646 waste-pickers in Bhopal were organised into 42 self-help groups. More than 60 per cent are women, who earn a daily living from selling the plastic waste. In total, 40 members from the women’s self-help groups have also been trained in making bags out of used polythene, which are sold in exhibitions across India.
The success of the Bhopal work also led to the establishment of a pilot plastic recovery centre in Indore. As a result, ≈3,500 waste collectors have been organised into self-help groups in Indore.
Additionally, given the occupational hazards involved, SSVAJKS also conducted regular health camps, and over 850 waste collectors are now enrolled in health insurance schemes.
From Waste Collection to Waste Recovery
By collaborating with local government bodies, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation allocated 230m2 of land for waste collection centres. The Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control board facilitated waste transportation to cement kilns.
Bhopal Municipality has also provided 850 cycle rickshaws to the SSVAJKS for easier waste collection.
In 2014, five plastic waste collection centres were upgraded to plastic waste recovery centres in Bhopal. This included fitting the centres with plastic shredders, compressor scrap baling machines, and other necessary machinery. The centres are facilitated by SSVAJKS and managed by the women’s self-help groups.
Approximately 10 tonnes of plastic waste are collected at five recovery centres in Bhopal every day.
Around 45 tonnes of plastic waste are sold to cement industries in and around Bhopal to be used as fuel in the furnaces. Around 60 tonnes of plastic waste are sold to Madhya Pradesh Rural Road Development Authority every month to be used in road construction.
Poorly-regulated incineration poses considerable threats to human health and the environment.
Globally, in this year alone, researchers estimate that the production and incineration of plastic will pump more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
By 2050, those emissions could rise to 2.8 billion tonnes.
Thanks to the support of this expanded waste collection, these waste collectors have helped process over 4,200 metric tonnes of plastic bags in the city and saved 12,000 tonnes worth of CO2 emissions.
On the Road
One of the most environmentally sensitive and economically useful means of repurposing plastic waste is for use in road making.
The higher-grade polyethylene is baled and sent to cement plants to be used as alternate fuels. These are non-recyclable plastics and can burn with coal at temperatures >1,300° C. In collaboration with SSVAJKS, the SHGs managing the plastic recovery centres constitute small enterprises via sales of processed plastic wastes to recyclers, road construction agencies, and cement factories.
Roads made with mixed plastic are highly durable due to their high resistance to water - significant for a region with an extended monsoon period.
#Madrid; #Europe; #UNClimateChangeConferenceinMadrid; #ClimateJustice
Madrid, Europe, Dec 3 (Canadian-Media): After spending three weeks crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran, Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived Tuesday in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon en route to the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, media reports said.
Greta Thunberg. Image credit: Facebook page
Thunberg was welcomed by dozens of cheering reporters and activists under bright sunshine on a Lisbon quayside and told them that that the voyage had energized her for the fight for climate change.
She said that besides continuing to press political leaders to make climate change their top priority, she wanted senior officials in Madrid to co-operate internationally in understanding the urgency of climate change and.
Thunberg says: "People are underestimating the force of angry kids."
She said she travelled by catamaran instead of plane to send a message it is possible to live a sustainable lifestyle.
On the second day of the climate conference Tuesday morning, traffic in Central Madrid was cut off by about 20 activists to stage a brief theatrical performance to protest climate change.
A banner in Russian that read: "Climate Crisis. To speak the truth. To take action immediately"
was held by the members of the international group Extinction Rebellion.
Some activists jumped into a nearby fountain chanting that they wanted climate justice, while others dressed in red robes danced briefly before police moved in to end the protest.
#UN, #COP25UNClimateChangeConference; #ReduceGreenGasEmissions
New York, Dec 1 (Canadian-Media): The UN Secretary-General has called for “increased ambition and commitment” from governments during the coming days of the COP25 UN climate change conference which opens in Madrid on Monday, UN reports said.
“My message here today is one of hope not of despair” said UN chief António Guterres
addressing journalists at a press conference in the Spanish capital on Sunday and continued,
“The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded...the point of no return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and is hurtling towards us”.
1.5 degrees ‘still within reach’ Efforts so far have been “utterly inadequate” and the Paris Agreement commitments still mean a rise of 3.2 degrees unless more drastic action is taken, said the UN chief, but 1.5 degrees “is still within reach.”
He said political energy should be concentrated on replacement of digging and drilling by renewable energy and nature-based solutions to drastically slow climate change and added,
“In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments – particularly from the main emitters – to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Mr. Guterres said at least $100 billion dollars must be made available to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation and to take into account their “legitimate expectations to have the resources necessary to build resilience and for disaster response and recovery.”
The “social dimension” of climate change must also be paramount, so that national commitments include “a just transition for people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected as we move from the grey to the green economy.”
In conclusion he noted: “We are in a deep hole and we are are still digging. Soon it will be too deep to escape.”