The UN chief said the 27th Annual Conference of the 198 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – better known as COP27 – “should be the place to restore confidence and restore the ambition needed to prevent our planet is driven over the climate cliff. .”
He said the main outcome of COP27, which begins on November 6 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, is that there is “a clear political will to cut emissions faster”.
That requires a historic pact between richer developed countries and emerging economies, Guterres said. “And if that pact doesn’t go through, we’re doomed.”
In the pact, the secretary-general said, wealthier countries should provide financial and technical assistance — along with support from multilateral development banks and technology companies — to help emerging economies accelerate their transition to renewable energy.
Guterres said reports in recent weeks have painted a “clear and bleak picture” of global warming greenhouse gas emissions still growing at record levels rather than falling 45% by 2030 as scientists say should happen. .
The landmark Paris agreement passed in 2015 to tackle climate change called for a rise in global temperatures of up to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial levels. times, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
Guterres said greenhouse gas emissions are now on track to increase by 10%, and temperatures will rise by as much as 2.8 degrees Celsius under current policies by the end of the century.
“And that means our planet is on course to reach tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible and will bake forever in catastrophic temperature rises,” the secretary general warned.
He said the 1.5-degree target “is in intensive care” and “in great danger”, but it is still possible to meet it. “And my goal in Egypt is to make sure we muster enough political will to really push this opportunity forward,” the UN chief said.
“COP27 should be the place to close the ambition gap, the credibility gap and the solidarity gap,” Guterres said. “It should put us back on track to reduce emissions, increase climate resilience and adaptation, deliver on the climate finance promise and address loss and damage from climate change.”
Rich countries, especially the United States, have emitted far more than their share of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas, data shows. Poor countries such as Pakistan, where recent floods have flooded a third of the country, have been affected far more than their share of global carbon emissions.
Losses and damages have been talked about for years, but wealthier countries have often balked at negotiating details about paying for past climate catastrophes, such as the floods in Pakistan this summer.
“Loss and damage have been the always deferred issue,” Guterres said. “There is no more time to put it off. We need to recognize loss and damage and we need to create an institutional framework to deal with it.”
The secretary-general said on Thursday that “getting concrete results on loss and damage is the litmus test of governments’ commitment to plug all these gaps.”
“COP27 should lay the groundwork for much faster, stronger climate action now and in this pivotal decade when the global climate battle will be won or lost,” Guterres said.