UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York, March 9, 2020. -

Europa Newswire / REX / SIPA

We must unite to fight against global warming or our world will be "lost", declared the boss of the UN, Antonio Guterres, this Tuesday, estimating that the pandemic of coronavirus illustrates the misdeeds of the disunity between the States.

"I believe that the failure to contain the spread of the virus, because there has not been enough international coordination (...) must make countries understand that they must change course," he said. declared.

Climate meetings postponed due to coronavirus

"They (States) must act together in the face of the climate threat, much more serious than the pandemic in itself - it is an existential threat to the planet and our very lives," he insisted in interviews with several members of the Covering climate now media alliance, which aims to increase coverage of climate-related issues.

"Either we are united or we are lost," he said, calling in particular to adopt "real transformative measures in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, industry, etc. in our way of life, without which we are lost.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, important international climate meetings scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed, raising fears of further delays in the fight against climate change.

The Cop26, intended to relaunch the application of the Paris Agreement, undermined by the withdrawal of the United States announced in 2017 by Donald Trump, was thus postponed until November 2021. However, changes in greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse gases do not already make it possible to consider meeting the objective of keeping warming “well below” 2 ° C since the start of the industrial era, let alone the more ambitious one of 1.5 ° C.

"We are expecting absolutely terrible things"

And if the massive confinements of populations imposed across the world in the face of Covid have cyclically reduced emissions - up to 8% worldwide over the year according to some estimates - scientists stress that the global evolution will not slow down without changes systemic, particularly in terms of energy and food.

However, to reach 1.5 ° C, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to drop 7.6% per year over the next decade, according to UN climate experts.

In the meantime, the effects of climate change are already being felt, such as the increase in extreme weather events or the melting of ice, with the consequences of a potentially devastating rise in sea level.

On the warming side, 2019 was the second hottest year in the world, after 2016, and experts expect the global average temperature to break a new high in the next five-year period (2020-2024).

And the UN Secretary General warns: “For the next five years, we expect absolutely terrible things in terms of storms, droughts and other dramatic impacts on the living conditions of many people around the world. ".

"It's time to wake up," he said, stressing that a lot depends on the actions that will be undertaken - or not - the main issuers: China, United States, European Union, Russia, India and Japan .

2050 goal for carbon neutrality

"We have never been so fragile, we have never needed humility, unity and solidarity so much", he insisted again, denouncing "irrational demonstrations of xenophobia" or the rise of nationalisms.

While many countries are launching massive stimulus plans to try to get out of the recession caused by the abrupt halt in the economy due to the pandemic, Antonio Guterres has urged states not to favor investments in fossil fuels and on the contrary, commit to “carbon neutrality” by 2050. “Pollution and not the population” must pay taxes as much as possible to finance this transition, he insisted.

"I do not want to go back to a world where biodiversity is called into question, where fossil fuels have more subsidies than renewables, a world where inequalities lead to societies with less and less cohesion and create instability, anger, frustration ”.

“I believe it makes us a different world, a different normality, and I believe that we have an opportunity to make it happen,” he concluded.


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