UN Secretary-General Antonio Guiterres urged all nations to work together to reduce global emissions on March 29, 2018. (Photo: UN)
New York (People’s Daily) - Climate change “is still moving much faster than we are,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Thursday, calling for the political will, innovation and financing to cut global emissions by at least 25 percent over the next two years.
The latest information from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank and the International Energy Agency reveals the true pace of climate change.
“Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 per cent, to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons. Moreover, weather-related disasters caused some $320 billion in economic damage, making 2017 the costliest year ever for such losses,” said Guterres.
Guterres added that in social and economic terms, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was devastating, washing away decades of development in an instant.
In South Asia, major monsoon floods affected 41 million people. In Africa, severe drought drove nearly 900,000 people out of their homes. Wildfires caused destruction across the world.
Arctic sea ice cover this winter reached its lowest level ever, and the oceans are warmer and more acidic now than ever before.
“I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge,” Guterres said.
Guterres reminded UN members that the Paris Accord adopted by world leaders in December 2015 aims to keep the global temperature from well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees.
However, scientists are now worried the goals set by the Paris Agreement may not be realized unless efforts are accelerated by 2020.
Guterres warned that climate change poses the greatest threat to humanity.
In 2019, Guterres said he will preside over a climate summit at UN Headquarters in New York aimed at boosting global ambition to meet the climate challenge.