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UN SG calls for climate action, not fancy speech

UN secretary General Antonio Guterres at the press conference

September 21, 2019 

By 2050, about 200M people across the globe, every year, could need international aid as a result of climate-related disasters and socio-economic impact of climate change. The funding requirement to address this could balloon to USD 20B every year by 2030.

This was one of the findings of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies, which is backed by scientific data and analysis.

The IFRC President, Francesco Rocca during a press conference at UN headquarters in New York, yesterday, said that this is the cost of doing nothing and that by doing something, the numbers could drastically decrease.

However, the UN will recognisise and incentivise early movers. The UN Secretary General’s special envoy on climate Action, Alfonso de Alba told Kuensel that the faster countries move to take action on climate change, the greater is the benefit. It includes easy and cheaper access to finance.

Calling the issue as “Climate emergency,” the UN secretary General Antonio Guterres in a press conference on September 18 said that climate change is already a tragic problem of societies.

During the Climate Action Summit, which will be held on September 23 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the secretary general said that he expects countries to commit to carbon neutrality in 2050. “There is already a meaningful number of countries that have done so, and I hope that, in the summit, there will be even more.”  This translates into a reduction of emissions in the next decade of 45 percent.

For the developing countries, he said that Green Climate Fund is important to support them adapt and mitigate. The developed world is supposed to contribute about USD 100B every year from 2020 to this effect.

“I have three grandchildren, and I don’t want to be responsible for them to live in a semi‑destroyed planet when they will come to my age,” he said.

Youth, the SG said are showing leadership and demanding their respective governments to take actions. This is why a Youth climate summit is also scheduled on September 21, bringing together youth from all the member states to come up with proposals, of which top 15 will make it to the stage.

“We will showcase promising initiatives aiming at moving away from coal, putting a price on carbon, stopping subsidies for fossil fuels, and cutting pollution that damages our health,” Antonio Guterres said. “I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments.”

When it comes to climate change, the special envoy also said that stake too high to be politically safe and more resources need to be put to support climate change and reaching the marginalised sections. There is more clarity now, he said adding that the idea is not a conservative one and remain static. Its sustainable use.

The 74th UNGA will also host its first SDG summit on September 25 to review the 17 commitments 193 nations made in 2015.

“We are losing the race against climate change. Our world is off-track in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals,” the UN secretary General said.


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