The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, calls on "all of us" to "stop the attack on the planet".
The corona pandemic and climate change have "brought us to a threshold" where there would be an opportunity to combat climate change, Guterres writes in a statement to the global community.
He calls on the heads of state to declare a "climate emergency".
Guterres demonstrates that the United Nations (UN) has gone astray in the fight against climate change.
His analysis, which he had circulated in the mass media worldwide, is factually incorrect and dangerous.
At the UN climate conference in Madrid in December 2019, António Guterres called out to the delegates that the consequences of climate change were "already noticeable in the form of frequent extreme weather disasters".
In his new declaration, too, he invokes an increase in “apocalyptic fires, floods, droughts and storms”, which data does not show.
On the contrary: extreme weather conditions have become less dangerous despite global warming.
In addition, Guterres ignores the existential problems of billions of people by making climate change the focus of the global community through an emergency demand.
And the UN Secretary-General ignores the fact that a large part of humanity has long been suffering from problems that climate change is supposed to cause in the first place.
Guterres looks at the world with the attitude of the rich West - as does the climate movement “Fridays for Future”, whose “Future” reveals that it ignores the current climate problems of poor countries, where weather disasters and food shortages have always been far more dangerous than in, even without man-made climate change rich states.
More important than climate change
The United Nations has set 17 goals to make the world a better place, including the fight against poverty and economic growth.
A global UN survey in 2012 showed that other things were more important to people than climate change: food security, energy, access to clean water, health, education, the fight against poverty.
Guterres suggests that climate change will inevitably exacerbate all of these problems - a dangerous misdirection.
Global warming undoubtedly harbors considerable - albeit partly ambiguous - risks for mankind, which is why the fight against climate change has rightly been at the top of the agenda of the United Nations, which regularly holds climate conferences, since 1992.
The countries of the world agreed on the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Despite the unprecedented agreement, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
However, this is hardly due, as is often claimed, to the political influence of fossil fuel companies, but above all to the energy needs of emerging countries in Asia and Africa.
The billions of people of China and India are finally giving their inhabitants more prosperity, thanks in particular to fossil, climate-damaging energies such as coal and oil.
Nevertheless, according to the UN, a billion people still have no access to electricity.
Even worse: 821 million people are starving, and the corona pandemic has increased their number.
Why is there no call for a nutritional emergency?
The fact that the UN Secretary General described the pandemic as an "unexpected opportunity for a fresh start" in his statement must be seen as arrogant cynicism.
The fight against climate change requires fundamental interventions in society, the desired conversion of the energy supply shakes the substance of the industrialized nations and leads to conflicting goals with other fundamental societal problems, such as food shortages and energy shortages.
India, China and other emerging countries will not want to withhold a better life from their people in order to produce fewer emissions, as the UN Secretary-General calls for.
No climate emergency
Guterres makes it easy for himself: Renewable energies would create 18 million new jobs by 2030, he claims in his statement.
But Guterres only refers to the International Labor Organization (ILO), a UN agency that is responsible for improving working conditions - not an authority for economics.
With the evocation of allegedly increasing weather disasters, Guterres wants to emphasize the exceptional position of climate change.
However, an influence of global warming on the global damage caused by weather disasters has not yet been identified - this was also the case in the most recent UN climate report.
There can be no talk of a “climate emergency”.
Last year, researchers in the journal “The Lancet” specified the positive development based on data from Munich Re reinsurance: The world is becoming more prosperous, cities are growing, and at the same time, weather disasters are destroying a smaller proportion, the study showed.
The trend applies to rich countries, more clearly to poor ones.
Prosperity reduces the susceptibility to extreme weather because, for example, dikes and warning systems can be built.
Economic upturn makes you defensive.
The two environmental researchers Giuseppe Formetta and Luc Feyen recently reported in the journal "Global Environmental Change" that the development was particularly positive in poor countries.
In Bangladesh, for example, which is often referred to as the country most affected by climate change, far fewer people die in weather disasters than before despite the rapidly growing population - the same applies worldwide: "We have found that the number of deaths from storm surges has decreased since the 1960s", wrote two climate researchers in the "Environmental Research Letters" in 2018.
That is impressive because the world population has roughly doubled over time and has increased six-fold since 1900.
Weather extremes less dangerous
Despite the multiplied population, statistics clearly show that far fewer people die due to extreme weather than decades ago, although the world population has multiplied.
Formetta and Feyen reported details: With the exception of heat waves, all types of weather disasters had less effect than before.
Whether storms, floods of all kinds, cold or drought - the number of deaths in relation to the population affected by extreme weather has declined.
Despite global warming.
The result underlines that the international community must also rely on technological progress in its fight against climate change, which can only be achieved through prosperity that requires energy.
Humanity is not defenseless against climate change.
It would be time for leading UN functionaries to abandon the seemingly colonialist attitude of climate reductionism, to explain the world's problems only with climate change.
Climate protection as an overarching goal can have inhumane consequences if it results in people being deprived of energy or food.
"We already have more than enough unconsequential ecological catastrophism," commented the green pioneer Ralf Fücks on the statement by UN chief Guterres.
What is needed instead are “encouraging concepts and strategies for a green industrial revolution”.
Emergency rhetoric like that of the UN Secretary General, however, is misleading.