29 February 2024,   11:49
Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure, UN chief tells COP28

Climate change is a sickness only global leaders can cure with policy changes and effective actions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has asserted.

Addressing the world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai he highlighted the Earth’s challenging times, marked by unprecedented emissions, wildfires, and droughts, culminating in 2023 being the hottest year in recorded human history.

He urged immediate action to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, including limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5-degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, emphasizing the necessity of global cooperation, leadership, and political will.

“Polar ice and glaciers are vanishing before our eyes, causing havoc the world over: from landslides and floods to rising seas. But this is just one symptom of the sickness bringing our climate to its knees. A sickness only you, global leaders, can cure. We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement - and minutes to midnight for the 1.5-degree limit. But it is not too late. You can prevent planetary crash and burn. We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos - if we act now.

The science is clear. The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate. Phase out - with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees.

I have a message for fossil fuel company leaders. Your old road is rapidly aging. Do not double down on an obsolete business model. Lead the transition to renewables. I urge governments to help industry make the right choice by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits.

Climate justice is long overdue. Developing countries are being devastated by disasters they did not cause. Extortionate borrowing costs are blocking their climate action plans. And support is far too little, far too late”, - he said.