UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday appealed to G20 leaders who will meet at a summit in New Delhi to act urgently on climate change because its outcome will impact further efforts.
Calling the September summit headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “critical opportunity”, he said: “Particularly G20 countries — responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions – must step up for climate action and climate justice.”
The success of the UN climate change meeting known as the Conference of Parties (COP) in December in Dubai will depend on the outcome of the G20 meeting, he said while speaking to reporters.
“The G20’s success is a basic precondition for the success of the COP, because nobody else can compensate if those members of the G20 do not seriously engage in a dramatic reduction of that emissions,” he said.
While smaller developing countries like the small island countries are trying to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, “They are not the problem; the problem are developed countries and the emerging economies that meet in the G20”, he said.
“Climate change is here,” he said as the message was brought home to the UN headquarters by New York declaring an extreme heat advisory for the city.
“Extreme weather is becoming the new normal,” he warned.
“All countries must respond and protect their people from the searing heat, fatal floods, storms, droughts, and raging fires that result,” he said.
“We must turn a year of burning heat into a year of burning ambition” to fight climate change.
India suffered through an extreme heat wave in the past three months with parts of the country hitting 47 degrees Celsius.
While he attributed 80 per cent of the greenhouse emissions collectively to the G20 nations, Guterres also spoke of the differences among countries, which would apply to countries in the group.
“Those countries on the frontlines — who have done the least to cause the crisis and have the least resources to deal with it — must have the support they need to do so,” he said.
“It is time for a global surge in adaptation investment to save millions of lives from climate carnage,” he added. He said that the developed countries should stand by their commitments to give $100 billion a year to help developing countries deal with climate change and noted that only Germany and Canada have contributed their share.
Guterres, who has launched a war on fossil fuels, called for ending financing of projects using them and said investments should be directed to renewable energy projects. “Many banks, investors and other financial actors continue to reward polluters and incentivise wrecking the planet,” he said.