COP25: youth ‘leadership’ contrasts with government inaction, says UN chief

Ahead of Madrid climate change conference António Guterres says political will missing


Striking school pupils in London. Photograph: Guy Smallman/Getty

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, contrasted the “leadership” and “mobilisation” shown by the world’s youth on the climate emergency with the lack of action by governments, which were failing to keep up with the urgency of the problem despite increasing signs that the climate was reaching breakdown.

Before the start of a critical conference on the climate crisis on Monday, he said the world had the technical and economic means to halt climate chaos, but what was missing was political will.

“The technologies that are necessary to make this possible are already available. Signals of hope are multiplying. Public opinion is waking up everywhere. Young people are showing remarkable leadership and mobilisation. [But we need] political will to put a price on carbon, political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels [and start] taxing pollution instead of people.”

Guterres called for further investment from rich countries and support for poor nations to make the changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of global heating. Amid rising temperatures, wildfires, heatwaves, droughts and floods, the danger signals were clear and must be acted on without further delay, he said.


Inside the mission to create an army of Greta Thunbergs – video

“In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments – particularly from the main emitters – to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.”

He was joined in his call by the leaders and representatives of some of the world’s poorest countries, which are suffering most from climate change.

The countries most at risk of deluge from climate chaos have issued an impassioned plea to the industrialised world ahead of crucial negotiations on the Paris agreement that start on Monday in Madrid.

“We see [these talks] as the last opportunity to take decisive action,” Janine Felson, deputy chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) told the Guardian.

“Anything short of vastly greater commitment to emission reduction, a new climate finance goal and tangible support for disaster risk reduction will signal a willingness to accept catastrophe.” MORE

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The Truth Behind the Climate Pledges by Universal Ecological Fund. Full data and report here.

 

Carney tapped as UN special envoy on climate action and finance

Mark Carney. Bloomberg
Mark Carney. Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has accepted the role of special envoy for climate action and finances, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

Carney has taken a pioneering role pushing the climate issue in the financial sphere, Guterres said at a news conference in Madrid, where the next UN climate change conference kicks off on Monday. He’ll take on his special envoy role with pay of $1 a year after stepping down from the central banker’s job, the Bank of England said in a statement.

Carney is due to leave the Bank of England on Jan. 31, although his successor has not yet been named after the selection process was disrupted by Brexit and the upcoming UK general election. That’s boosted speculation he may be asked to extend his term at the BOE for a third time, although Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said last month that he saw no need for such a move and that his party would appoint a new chief “very, very, quickly” if it wins the Dec. 12 vote

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“We are confronted now with a global climate crisis and the point of no return is no longer over the horizon, it is in sight and hurtling towards us.”

U.N. Secretary-General @antonioguterres said climate change action has been “utterly inadequate” one day ahead of

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Carney has been talking about the risks of climate change since at least 2015 when he used a speech at Lloyds of London to warn that the phenomenon imposed “a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.” In October, he told the Guardian newspaper that companies and industries that aren’t moving toward zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and face bankruptcy.

At least $100 billion a year should be mobilized for developing countries to adapt for climate action, Guterres said. It’s crucial for countries, especially those with high emissions, to pledge more ambitious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he added. SOURCE

Merkel backs Macron’s call for G7 talks on Amazon fires

Angela Merkel has backed Emmanuel Macron’s call to put the fires in the Amazon on the agenda at this weekend’s G7 summit, after the French president said the situation amounted to an international crisis.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German chancellor, told journalists in Berlin on Friday: “The extent of the fires in the Amazon area is shocking and threatening, not only for Brazil and the other affected countries, but also for the whole world.

“When the G7 comes together this weekend, then the chancellor is convinced that this acute emergency in the Amazon rainforest belongs on the agenda.”

…But  international concern continued to be expressed over the scale of the fires. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, said he was deeply concerned: “In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity.”

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, tweeted that the fires were being “aided and abetted by the Brazilian government”. The burning of the rainforest was “an act of shocking environmental vandalism with global consequences”. MORE

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It’s time we took a seat ‘at your table’: Guterres calls on world youth to keep leading climate emergency response

Older generations have “failed to respond properly” to the climate emergency said the UN chief on Sunday, while the young are “stepping up to the challenge” and taking the lead to slow the destructive pace of global warming.

Lisboa +21 The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, at the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth 2019 and Youth Forum Lisboa+21, in Lisbon, Portugal

António Guterres was making the closing address at the UN-backed World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and Youth Forum, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Lisboa+21.
António Guterres was making the closing address at the UN-backed World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and Youth Forum, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Lisboa+21.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”. MORE