The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres called on countries involved in the COP28 negotiations to maximize efforts to reach agreements that enable the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and climate justice. The statements were made at a press conference, this Monday (11), one day before the deadline for the global climate conference.
“As we approach the end of COP28, my key message is clear. We need to conclude COP28 with an ambitious outcome that demonstrates decisive action and a credible plan to maintain the 1.5 degree objective and protect those on the frontline of the climate crisis. We cannot continue postponing decisions. We are out of options. And almost no time.”
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According to him, 24 hours before the end of the event, there are still large gaps and “maximum ambition” is needed. Guterres stated that nations must overcome inflexible positions and put aside tactics of blocking the solutions proposed in the negotiations. The UN leader highlighted although the results of COP28 may show a “divided world” that multilateralism is still the best hope for facing global challenges.
The global review – a review of how each country is acting to comply with the Paris Agreement and which will be finalized at the Conference – needs to offer an explicit plan to reach the goals of tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency, said Guterres.
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In his words, this is the only way to tackle the production and consumption of fossil fuels, which the secretary classified as the roots of the climate crisis. The UN chief also emphasized that governments need to ensure social protection for communities that may be negatively impacted by the transition.
“At the same time, the needs of developing countries, which are highly dependent on the production of fossil fuels, also need to be considered,” said the diplomat, who highlighted the need to take the diversity of situations of each nation into consideration, “not to reduce the ambition, but to combine ambition and equity”, he added.
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When mentioning the Climate Solidarity Pact, Guterres stressed that large emitters must make an effort to reduce polluting activities and that richer countries need to support emerging economies in this process. Deadlines and goals may be different, but all nations must be consistent with the ultimate goals.
“Many developing countries are deep in debt, lack fiscal space and face unreasonable costs for climate action efforts. And we need much more ambition in adaptation. COP28 must send clear signals that governments understand the scale of adaptation and that it is a priority, not just for developing countries, but for the entire world.”
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He also highlighted that setting goals without demonstrating the means of implementation is like having “a car without wheels”. The UN chief stressed that governments need to prepare and present new national action plans and contributions, which are comprehensive, cover all greenhouse gases and are fully aligned with the temperature increase limits of 1.5 degrees.
Guterres also said that climate financing alone will not solve all climate equity problems. According to him, it is necessary to change the international financial model to alleviate debts and guarantee more resources available to developing countries, not only with a focus on climate actions, but also to face “the dramatic financial situation in which many of them find themselves.”
The journalist traveled at the invitation of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo