UN chief calls for sustained climate action

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Highlighting the seriousness of the impact of climate change on the planet and its inhabitants, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for sustained action to meet the global challenge and to ensure a peaceful and sustainable future for all in a statement published on the UN’s official website.

“The effects of climate change are dangerous and they are accelerating,” Secretary-General Guterres was reported as telling a gathering of students, business leaders and academics at the New York University Stern School of Business.

“It is absolutely essential that the world implements the Paris Agreement [on climate change] – and that we fulfill that duty with increased ambition,” he underscored, recalling the ground-breaking agreement that entered into force last November.

The Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.

It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and calls for scaled up financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework to support action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives.

Underlining that the science behind climate change “is beyond doubt,” Guterres said: “As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put it: ‘Human influence on the climate system is clear. The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts,’” he said, recalling that global temperatures have been rising, year after year, and that last year was the hottest on record.

Furthermore, there are fears that the melt of sea ice and glaciers due to rising temperatures will have a deep and far reaching impact: droughts and dry spells will last longer, while natural disasters like floods and hurricanes will be even more destructive.

Impacts of these catastrophic events, Guterres noted, would be felt in all corners of the world and in all sectors of the economy.