UN chief warns of failure of UN Climate Change Conference

  • Sep 18, 2021
  • Daily Finland

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that there is a high risk of failure of the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in November in Glasgow, Scotland, reported Xinhua.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Friday published its synthesis report on the Nationally Determined Contributions. There is a need for a 45 percent cut in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. Friday's data imply an increase of 16 percent in emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 levels, he said.

"The world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7-degrees of heating. There is a high risk of failure of COP26," he told the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, convened by U.S. President Joe Biden.

"It is clear that everyone must assume their responsibilities. We need more ambition on finance, adaptation and mitigation," said Guterres.

On finance, developed countries must fulfill the long-standing pledge to mobilize 100 billion U.S. dollars a year to support climate action in developing countries. Support from international financial institutions is also critical. So is the mobilization of assistance from the private sector -- both financial and technological, he said.

Levels of finance for the crucial component of climate adaptation are still far too low. Developing countries received only 16.8 billion dollars in 2018, compared with adaptation costs of some 70 billion dollars. These costs are expected to grow to as much as 300 billion dollars a year by 2030, he said. "We must commit at least 50 percent of climate finance to adaptation."

"On mitigation, I do understand the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. And developed countries certainly need to take the lead. But it is essential for several emerging economies to go the extra mile and effectively contribute to emissions reductions," he said.

One major challenge is coal use, he said. "If all planned coal power plants become operational, we will not only be clearly above 1.5 degrees, we will be well above 2 degrees. The Paris (Agreement) targets would go up in smoke."

There is a need for coalitions of solidarity -- between countries that still depend heavily on coal, and countries that have the financial and technical resources to support transitions, he said.

The fight against climate change will only succeed if the major economies come together to promote more ambition, more cooperation and more credibility, he said. "The world demands that all of us, but essentially you as the leading economies of the world, take immediate action to lead us toward a sustainable and resilient future."

"I ask you to rebuild the spirit of collaboration, cooperation and goodwill that were the hallmarks of the Paris Agreement. I ask you to consider how we can deliver success in Glasgow," said Guterres.