Guterres: We are not moving fast enough on climate change

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António Guterres attends a morning breakfast with climate action-focused Maori and Pasifika youth. Photo credit: UN / Mark Garten.

By Anders Lorenzen

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General has warned that the world is not moving fast enough to tackle climate change.

Guterres said that countries were not living up to their commitments made in at the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The agreement pledges to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The UN head was in New Zealand where he will spend three days during his South Pacific tour to highlight the challenge of climate change.

Guterres explained at a time where the impacts of climate change are worsening, political will seems to be fading: “We are not on track to achieve the objectives defined in the Paris Agreement. And the paradox is that as things are getting worse on the ground; political will seems to be fading,” he said.

Guterres was flanked by New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern who recently introduced an ambitious climate bill that aims to make New Zealand mostly carbon-neutral by 2050 while giving some leeway to farmers. The bill is expected to come to a final vote in Parliament later this year. A move which the UN Secretary-General praised.

Guterres hinted there’s no time to waste saying: “Climate change is running faster than what we are … the last four years have been the hottest registered.” Countries vowed under the Paris Agreement to try to limit a rise in climate change to 1.5 degrees C.

As a part of the tour, Guterres will also visit the Pacific island nations of Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. In Fiji, he will meet with leaders and senior government officials from the Pacific Islands Forum. His trip comes ahead of the Climate Action Summit that he plans to convene in September in New York.

It has recently been reported that several countries are not on track to meet their Paris commitments, commitments that would need to be strengthened further to avoid dangerous climate change. Even if the Paris commitments are met the world is on a trajectory to warm by at least 3 degrees C.

 

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