Dec 12, 2020 - Energy & Environment

UN secretary urges world leaders to declare "climate emergency"

Picture of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday implored world leaders to declare states of "climate emergency" until "carbon neutrality is reached," per Reuters.

What he's saying: Speaking at a virtual summit on the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, Guterres criticized wealthy countries for spending 50% more of their pandemic recovery cash on fossil fuel production and consumption, as opposed to low-carbon energy.

  • “Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?” Guterres asked.
  • "This is unacceptable. The trillions of dollars needed for COVID recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations," he continued. "We cannot use these resources to lock in policies that burden future generations with a mountain of debt on a broken planet."

Guterres praised countries that joined the one-day meeting with new goals, and said so far 38 countries have declared climate emergencies.

  • The United Kingdom also announced the end of its support for overseas fossil fuel projects and submitted a new climate plan to the UN, per BBC.

Worth noting: EU leaders on Friday agreed to cut net carbon emissions at least 55% by 2030.

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