New York, 2 December 2023 (TDI): The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called for a “grand coalition” to address the climate crisis, warning that the world is “on a one-way ticket to disaster” if it fails to take urgent action ahead of COP28.
The Secretary-General’s impassioned plea comes as the world grapples with the devastating impacts of climate change, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels and biodiversity loss.
“The science is clear, we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said the Secretary-General in his opening remarks at the COP28 Summit.
The Secretary-General said that the world emits more greenhouse gases than ever. “We are heading for a 3-degree temperature rise, which would be catastrophic,” he warned.
“We need to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050,” he said. “This is a daunting task, but it is not impossible.”
Antonio Guterres said that the world needs to make a “radical transformation” of its energy systems, economies, and societies. He called for a “grand coalition” of governments, businesses, and civil society to address the crisis.
“We cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels,” Guterres declared. “The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate. Phase out.”
He called on world leaders to rise to the challenge and demonstrate the necessary political will to address the climate crisis. “We need a just and equitable transition to renewable energy that leaves no one behind,” he asserted.
Guterres’s address at COP28 set the stage for a critical two-week conference where governments, businesses, and civil society will negotiate and collaborate on ambitious climate action plans.
The stakes are high, as the world faces a race against time to avert the worst impacts of climate change.