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World ‘sleepwalking’ to climate catastrophe: UN chief

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UN chief Antonio Guterres mentioned on Monday the world is “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe”, with main economies permitting carbon air pollution to improve when drastic cuts are wanted.

The planet-saving aim of capping world warming at 1.5 levels Celsius is already “on life support,” he instructed a sustainability convention in London.

Keeping 1.5C in play requires a forty five% drop in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century, in accordance to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But even when nations honour newly revised pledges beneath the Paris Agreement, emissions are nonetheless set to rise 14% earlier than the last decade ends.

“The problem is getting worse,” Mr. Guterres mentioned in a pre-recorded video message. “We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe.”

“If we continue with more of the same, we can kiss 1.5C goodbye,” he added. “Even two degrees may be out of reach.”

His feedback got here solely hours earlier than the 195-nation IPCC kicks off a two-week assembly to validate a landmark report on choices for lowering carbon air pollution and extracting CO2 from the air.

The report is predicted to conclude that CO2 emissions should peak inside a number of years if the Paris temperature targets are to be met.

Mr. Guterres described COVID restoration spending as “scandalously uneven” and a missed alternative to speed up the flip towards clear vitality.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, he added, may additional derail climate motion with importers locking in fossil gasoline dependence as they scramble to exchange Russian oil and gasoline.

“Countries could become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap (climate) policies,” Mr. Guterres mentioned.

“This is madness. Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.”

A bombshell report final 12 months from the intergovernmental International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded {that a} 1.5C world was incompatible with any new oil or gasoline developments, or new coal-fired energy crops.

Breaking with the standard observe of not singling out nations, Mr. Guterres known as out Australia and a “handful of holdouts” for failing to lay out “meaningful” near-term plans to slash emissions.

He additionally mentioned the event wants and financial buildings of China, India, Indonesia and different “emerging economies” forestall them from making related commitments, particularly on coal.

Rich nations ought to present cash, know-how and knowhow to assist these rising economies purge coal from their vitality portfolios, he added, pointing to a pathbreaking deal for South Africa unveiled on the COP26 climate summit final November in Glasgow.

“Our planet can’t afford a climate blame game,” he cautioned. “we can’t point fingers while the planet burns.”

Wealthy nations within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) should phase-out coal by 2030, and all different nations by 2040, Mr. Guterres mentioned.

China and India — each closely reliant on coal — have resisted a full embrace of the 1.5C aim, together with strain to set extra formidable short-term emissions discount targets.

Both nations, nevertheless, have set long-term “net-zero” targets for carbon neutrality, 2060 for China and 2070 for India.

G20 nations account for about 80% of worldwide greenhouse gasoline emissions.

A landmark IPCC report on climate impression and humanity’s capability to adapt, printed final month, particulars an atlas of human struggling and warned that far worse is to come.

Unprecedented floods, heatwaves and wildfires seen throughout 4 continents within the final 12 months will all speed up in coming a long time even when the fossil gasoline air pollution is quickly introduced to heel, the report concluded.

Mr. Guterres was addressing a four-day convention organised by The Economist.

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