UN Chief on Climate Ambition

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The United Nations (UN) was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.

The UN’s chief administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres, who began his five year-term on 1 January 2017.


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    Remarks by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at the High-level Roundtable on Climate Ambition. Remarks: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2020-09-24/secretary-generals-remarks-high-level-roundtable-climate-ambition-delivered With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted plans to hold the annual international UN climate meeting – known as the COP – this year, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom have announced that they will instead co-host a “landmark global event” on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Speaking to a high-level roundtable on climate ambition today (24 Sep), Guterres said, “all COVID-19 recovery packages need to accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy. Any plan that supports economically costly and polluting coal or fossil fuel industries cannot be called “recovery”.” Plans, policies and portfolios, he said, “must demonstrate that they are consistent with the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” The Secretary-General said, “resilience and adaptation action do not get the funding they need” and asked developed countries “to deliver this year on their commitment to provide and mobilize $100 billion dollars a year for mitigation, adaptation and resilience in developing countries.” He said governments “must also remove expensive fossil fuel subsidies and take that money to invest in new jobs for the poorest communities.” During his intervention, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “humanity was caught napping by coronavirus. Let’s face it, we were woefully underprepared. But for this thing, for climate change, nobody can say that we have not been warned, and nobody can say that we are not now capable of making the preparations.” Johnson said the Summit will be “a commemoration, a celebration, of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Change Summit” and will provide “the chance for us to look at the year ahead, do a stocktake, see where we are, see how ambitious we are all being.” The event is being dubbed “the sprint to Glasgow” by the UN. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the UK was slated to host this year’s COP in the Scottish City. The Summit is now scheduled to take place a year later, in November 2021. The December event will be held amid signs that the world is off-track to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and that a carbon-free economy is long overdue.

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