Climate change likely to reach point of no return, UN Secretary-General warns

Climate change likely to reach point of no return, UN Secretary-General warns


On the eve and at the opening of the COP25, AntónioGuterres – the Secretary-General of the UN – did not go to extremes. Indeed, he strongly denounced the insufficiency of the actions carried out so far to limit global warming. And this despite the commitments made in Paris in 2015 at the COP21. During his opening speech on Monday, he asked the states “not to betray the human family”.

From December 2nd to 13th, the COP25 will take place. This is the 25th UN Conference on Climate Change. If it was originally to take place in Santiago, Chile, it was finally held in the Spanish capital. Indeed, due to the violent social unrest affecting his country, the Chilean president had to give up hosting the event.

Climate challenge: choosing between surrender and hope
“The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2, the temperature was 2 to 3 degrees warmer and the sea level was 10 to 20 meters higher than today” reminded AntónioGuterres during the meeting. COP25 opens on Monday. Also, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has invited the 200 or so countries represented to choose between capitulation and hope. And to “not betray the human family as a whole and all generations to come.”

“By the end of the next decade, we will be on one of these two paths. One is the path of capitulation, where we will have passed as somnambulists the point of no return, endangering the health and safety of all the inhabitants of this planet, “he said.

“The other option is the path of hope. A path of resolution and durable solutions. A path in which fossil fuels stay where they should be, in the soil, and where we achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, “he continued. “Do we really want to be remembered as the ostrich generation strolling while the planet was burning? “.

A tone that may seem accusing, even condescending. But it goes without saying that this is a way to sensitize the delegations of the 197 countries gathered in Madrid for ten days. Other similar speeches have followed. This includes Austria’s President Alexander van der Bellen, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado and Spanish President Pedro Sanchez.

A clear lack of political will
Already the day before, AntónioGuterres denounced the lack of political will to make things happen. He considered the efforts made so far quite inadequate and recalled the growing danger of climate change reaching a point of no return. “[The latter] is no longer beyond the horizon, he is in sight and rushes towards us. (…) We must put an end to our war against nature “.

At the end of the COP21 held in Paris in 2015, the states agreed on the goal of keeping warming below 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial level. And, if possible, not to exceed 1.5 ° C. It was “a solemn promise to the people of the world,” Guterres said.

However, observations show that the temperature has already risen by 1 ° C. In fact, the room for maneuver decreases rapidly. But according to him, we still have the means to fulfill our commitments. “What is still missing is the political will. The desire to put a price on carbon. Willingness to stop subsidies on fossil fuels. That of stopping the construction of coal-fired power plants from 2020 or taxing pollution rather than people. “

While many countries have strengthened their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the UN Secretary-General deplores the fact that “the largest emitters in the world are not doing their part. And without them, our goal is unattainable. One thinks in particular of the United States, Japan or China. This conference held in Madrid will, therefore, be the opportunity to take a more enlightened step in the right direction. But time is running out and the fine words will soon have to be followed by concrete actions on a large scale.