And against the backdrop of threatened lives, crippled businesses and damaged economies, the UN chief warned the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also under threat.
“The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing”, he spelled out, underscoring the need to urgently “strengthen resilience and cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees” above pre-industrial levels, to mitigate climate change.
Political will required
Heartened by technology and public opinion, especially among the younger generations, he observed that many cities and businesses are taking action.
“But we still lack the necessary political will”, he said, advocating for “significantly more ambition” on mitigation, adaptation and financing.
On mitigation, all countries must commit to carbon neutrality by 2050. And developing countries – least responsible for climate change but most vulnerable to its impacts – need resilience-building support. This requires adequate financing, beginning with a promised $100 billion dollars a year for mitigation and adaptation efforts, added Mr. Guterres.
In planning the coronavirus pandemic recovery, there is “a profound opportunity” to steer the world on “a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind”, the Secretary-General said.
“By making the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient growth, we can create a world that is clean, green, safe, just and more prosperous for all”, he emphasized.