Governments' inaction on climate is 'dangerous,' warns UN chief

Published on Jun 14, 2022 02:10 PM IST

Guterres said global greenhouse gas emissions need to drop by 45% this decade, but are currently forecast to increase by 14%.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.(AFP)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.(AFP)
AP |

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned Tuesday of a “dangerous disconnect” between what scientists and citizens are demanding to curb climate change, and what governments are actually doing about it.

Guterres said global greenhouse gas emissions need to drop by 45% this decade, but are currently forecast to increase by 14%.

“We are witnessing a historic and dangerous disconnect: science and citizens are demanding ambitious and transformative climate action,” he said at a climate conference in Austria. “Meanwhile many governments are dragging their feet. This inaction has grave consequences.”

Guterres said Russia's war in Ukraine risked worsening the crisis, because major economies were “doubling down on fossil fuels” that are to blame for much of the emissions stoking global warming.

“New funding for fossil fuel exploration and production infrastructure is delusional,” he said in a video message to the Austrian World Summit, initiated by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It will only further feed the scourge of war, pollution and climate catastrophe.”

Guterres urged countries to instead end all coal use by 2040, with rich nations doing so by 2030, and focus on replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power.

“Renewables are the peace plan of the 21st century,” he said.

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