UN chief slams world powers for 'criminal' lack of climate leadership

AFP , Monday 28 Feb 2022

UN chief Antonio Guterres blasted world powers for a "criminal" abdication of leadership after the release Monday of an extensive new report on climate change impacts, accusing major polluters of fuelling devastating warming that threatens people and planet.

UN/Climate change
File Photo:UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters. AP

Guterres said the most compelling scientific overview to date of the impacts and vulnerabilities from the UN's climate experts was an "atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment" of the failure of the international community to act.

"Nearly half of humanity is living in the danger zone -- now. Many ecosystems are at the point of no return -- now," he said, adding that the facts of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions were "undeniable".

"This abdication of leadership is criminal. The world's biggest polluters are guilty of arson of our only home."

The IPCC report was released under the shadow of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Guterres said current events underscore the vulnerability of the global economy and energy security to "geopolitical shocks and crises" and the urgent need to turn to renewable power.

Guterres said coal and other fossil fuels are "choking humanity" and called for G20 economies to follow up on their commitments to stop funding coal abroad by ending its use at home.

Oil and gas giants and their financial backers were also "on notice", he said.

"Now is the time to turn rage into action," he added.

"Every fraction of a degree matters. Every voice can make a difference. And every second counts."

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