U.N. Leader Demands More Aggressive Response to Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is fed up, and he isn’t going to stand around while the world burns, according to him.

Guterres said on Sunday, just ahead of a two-week climate summit in Madrid, that the world must stop a “war against nature” and find more political will to combat climate change.

Around the world, extreme weather ranging from wildfires to floods is being linked to man-made global warming, putting pressure on the summit to strengthen the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting the rise in temperature.

Guterres said:

“Our war against nature must stop, and we know that it is possible.  We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions.”

Cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases that nations agreed to in Paris in 2015 aren’t enough to limit temperature rises to a goal of between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius, and most countries aren’t even meeting those targets.

President Donald Trump for his part began the process to pull out of the Paris Agreement, and China has tilted back toward building more coal-fired power plants.

Seventy countries have committed to a goal of ‘carbon neutrality’ or ‘climate neutrality’ by 2050, balancing out greenhouse emissions through things like carbon capture technology or by planting trees.

They key is that those countries committed, but aren’t on track to achieve those goals.

Guterres poined to the largest carbon-emitting countries, the U.S. and China, when he said:

“We also see clearly that the world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight, and without them, our goal is unreachable.”

He then went on to discuss the point of the latest conference, which is to find a way to put a value on a carbon emissions so they can be traded and taxed.

Guterres said:

“I don’t even want to entertain the possibility that we do not agree on article 6.  We are here to approve guidelines to implement article 6, not to find excuses not to do it.”

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