By J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – “Climate action is not just a necessity but an opportunity to forge a peaceful and sustainable future on a healthy planet,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told a gathering of students, business leaders and academics at the New York University Stern School of Business on May 30.
Amidst reports that President Donald Trump was poised to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Guterres called for sustained action to meet the global challenge and to ensure a peaceful and sustainable future for all.
“The effects of climate change are dangerous and they are accelerating,” Guterres “It is absolutely essential that the world implements the Paris Agreement [on climate change] – and that we fulfil that duty with increased ambition,” he underscored, recalling the ground-breaking agreement that entered into force in November 2016.
Guterres stressed that climate action is already under way, and that countries and companies that are involved will reap the rewards.
“Thousands of private corporations, including major oil and gas companies, are taking their own action”, the UN Chied said. “They know that green business is good business. It is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”
“The sustainability train has left the station. Get on board or get left behind. Those who fail to bet on the green economy will be living in a grey future. “Those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the 21st century.”
The Paris accord calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.
It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and calls for scaled up financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework to support action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives.
The UN Chief said that science behind climate change “is beyond doubt,” and called on all, including those who might hold divergent perspectives on climate change to engage with him on the way forward.
“As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put it: ‘Human influence on the climate system is clear. The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts,’” Guterres said, recalling that global temperatures have been rising, year after year, and that that last year was the hottest on record.
Besides, there are fears that the melt of sea ice and glaciers due to rising temperatures will have deep and far reaching impact: droughts and dry spells will last longer, while natural disasters like floods and hurricanes will be even more destructive.
Impacts of these catastrophic events, Guterres noted, would be felt in all corners of the world and in all sectors of the economy.
The Secretary-General intends to convene a climate summit in 2019 and is strongly committed to working with all Governments and partners to bridge divergent views and forge a shared vision of the way forward to address climate change — an unprecedented threat but also an an unparalleled opportunity.
Guterres laid out a five-point action plan to mobilize the world behind climate action.
First: Intensified political engagement to raise the bar on efforts to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.
Second: Stronger, integrated support by the entire United Nations development system for Governments as they strive to meet climate commitments and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Third: Engagement with Governments and major actors, including the coal, oil and gas industries, to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy.
Fourth: Heightened efforts to mobilize national and international resources for adaptation, resilience, and the implementation of national climate action plans.
Fifth: New and strengthened partnerships, including with the private sector and through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.
The UN Chief also said that he would engage more with Governments and major actors, including the coal, oil and gas industries, to accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy, and committed stronger support by the entire UN development system to Governments as they strive to meet climate commitments and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially at the country level.
“That is where true change will be achieved,” he said.
The UN chief also said that he will work to with UN Member States mobilize national and international resources for adaptation, resilience, and the implementation of national climate action plans, and called for new and strengthened partnerships, including with the private sector and through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 May 2017]
Photo: UN Secretary-General António Guterres addresses audience at New York University Stern School of Business. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.
facebook.com/IDN.GoingDeeper – twitter.com/InDepthNews