UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on world leaders to come to New York in September with concrete plans of action against global warming for the Climate Summit that will hold there.
Guterres himself called for the summit scheduled for Sept. 23, a day before the start of the annual high-level week of the UN General Assembly, to crank up political will on climate change.
“It is important that we tackle climate change with much greater ambition. I am telling leaders: Don’t come with a speech, come with a plan,” Guterres said.
“I am calling on them to come to the summit with concrete, realistic plans to put us on a sustainable path, once and for all”, he added.
That means enhancing national contributions under the Paris Agreement by 2020 and showing how the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next 10 years and get to net zero emissions globally by 2050.
Without doing so, global warming will be irreversible, he said. ”
The report, “WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate 2018,” states that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record and that 2015-2018 were the four warmest years on record. Average global temperature reached about 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 2018 also saw new records for ocean heat content and the highest global mean sea level on record, says the report.
“This report is indeed another strong wake-up call. It proves what we have been saying that climate change is moving faster than our efforts to address it,” said Guterres.
He wanted the UN Climate Summit to demonstrate the benefits of climate action.
He stated that a growing number of governments, cities and businesses understand that climate solutions can strengthen economies, improve air quality and public health and protect the environment,.
He also said the summit will emphasize the importance of a just transition, where no one is left disadvantaged by necessary climate action,. “It is clear that a transformation is under way, but it clear that it is not as quick as needed.”
New technologies are already delivering energy at a lower cost than the fossil fuel-driven economy. Solar and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new power in virtually all major economies, noted Guterres.
He asked for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels and high-emitting, unsustainable agriculture and for a shift toward renewable energy, electric vehicles and climate-smart practices.
He also asked for carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of emissions, from climate risk to the health hazards of air pollution.
By making this transition, the world can avert the threat of irreversible climate disruption and march far down the road to realizing the 2030 Agenda, said the UN chief.