Antonio Guterres said that humanity must choose between “climate solidarity” or “collective suicide”

Antonio Guterres at COP27 in Egypt (Reuters) (MOHAMMED SALEM/)

In the face of global warming and its increasing impacts, humanity faces the dilemma of “cooperate or die”, The UN Secretary General warned on Monday Anthony Guterresbefore a hundred leaders gathered in Egypt at the COP27.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or die. Either a pact for climate solidarity, or a pact for collective suicide”, said Guterres in his speech on the second day of COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh.

In a world context totally disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy and food crises, Guterres insisted that the international community must not deviate from the goal of Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

“We cannot accept that our attention is not on climate change” despite “the war in Ukraine and other conflicts”, because “climate change has its own calendar”, warned the UN chief.

“The current urgent crises cannot be an excuse to back down” or for image washing, he added, especially when “We’re headed for climate hell with our foot still on the gas”.

Delegates at the climate summit (Reuters)
Delegates at the climate summit (Reuters) (MOHAMMED SALEM /)

Guterres also made a firm plea in favor of an international fund for the damages and losses of climate change, an item included in the COP27 agenda and that promises tough negotiations between the most industrialized and historically polluting countries, and the developing countries, who suffer more from the effects of warming and would be the recipients of this aid.

“Those who contributed least to the climate crisis are picking up the storms sown by others”, so “let’s redirect money to people facing rising food and energy prices, and to countries suffering damage and loss from the climate crisis”.

Similarly, Guterres called for a “collective solidarity pact” to “end dependence on fossil fuels and the construction of new coal-fired power plants.”

In line with this argument, the secretary general asked that in the face of the gas boom and the increase in energy prices, “all governments tax the exacerbated profits of fossil fuel companies.”

Protest at the entrance of the convention center in Sharm el-Sheikh (Reuters)
Protest at the entrance of the convention center, in Sharm el-Sheikh (Reuters) (MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY /)

“Let’s redirect money to people suffering from rising energy and food prices and to countries suffering loss and damage from the climate crisis,” Guterres said.

Referring to the issue of loss and damage, the compensation due to developing countries that suffer the consequences of climate change but are hardly responsible for the polluting emissions that have caused it, Guterres pointed out that this meeting must agree on “a precise map and with a clear timetable that reflects the scale of the urgency of the challenge”.

“This plan must include effective institutional arrangements for its financing,” he said.

For the UN Secretary General, obtaining “concrete results” in this regard is the high water mark that will determine “the commitment of governments to the success of COP27.”

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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