United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a stark warning at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Monday, contending that the lack of progress on climate change through the years has the world speeding down a “highway to climate hell,” Reuters reported.
“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” he told the delegates in attendance.
“We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he continued.
“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”
Guterres noted that as climate change is being caused by human activity, the solution can only be through human action. He added that the point of no return is now dangerously close.
“To avoid that dire fate, all G-20 countries must accelerate their transition now,” he said. “Developed countries must take the leads, but emerging economies are also critical to bending the global emissions curve.”
Former Vice President Al Gore, also speaking at the event, took issue with developed nations’ ongoing pursuit of gas resources in Africa, which he described as “fossil fuel colonialism.”
“We have a credibility problem all of us: We’re talking and we’re starting to act, but we're not doing enough,” he said.
New British prime minister Rishi Sunak said that the ongoing war in Ukraine was a reason to ramp up efforts to wean the world off fossil fuels.
“Climate security goes hand in hand with energy security, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change,” he said. “They are a reason to act faster.”
Meanwhile, as reported by CNBC, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva asserted that public aid and funding from governments of developed countries alone won’t be enough to close the funding gap on climate change initiatives in developing countries.
“We will never close it if we rely on the generosity of rich countries, because it is too big to be close with public money,” Georgieva told the business news network.
“So most important here, and in the months to follow, is to work relentlessly to create opportunities for private investments to take place in the developing world,” she continued.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.