:: Peoples Time Online ::
UN chief Antonio Guterres on Thursday (Jan 24) warned that the world is “losing the race” on climate change as he demanded that governments make bolder commitments beyond the Paris accord.
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time. We are losing the race,” he said on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“It is absolutely central to reverse this trend.”
Following a UN summit last month in Poland, which was designed to advance the Paris climate accord, Guterres said he was “not hopeful” that nations would find the necessary resolve.
But he stressed: “We need political will and we need governments who understand that this is the most important priority of our times.”
The Paris climate accord has been shaken by the withdrawal of the United States under President Donald Trump, and by threats to do the same by Brazil’s new hard-right leader Jair Bolsonaro.
The UN secretary-general said the commitments made in Paris were already “not enough”.
“If what we agreed in Paris would be materialised, the temperature would rise more than 3.0 degrees (Celsius),” he said on a Facebook Live broadcast from Davos.
“We need countries to make stronger commitments,” Guterres said, calling for more measures to mitigate against climate change and adapt to it, along with financial aid for poorer countries.
A WEF survey ahead of the Davos meeting found climate change was the leading concern of forum participants around the world, noting in particular the growing frequency of extreme weather events.
Without stronger political action corporate executives in Davos such as Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy giant Total, have been touting their own measures to transition to a greener economy.
“We don’t look to renewables to be green,” he told the CNBC channel in Davos on Thursday, noting that electricity is the fastest-growing segment of the energy market. “We look to renewables because it’s the best way to go in to this electricity market, but the electricity market will require also natural gas, so natural gas and renewables.”