UN chief warns against unilateral path in tackling climate crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-29 01:32:35|Editor: huaxia

"Isolation is a trap. No country can succeed alone," said the UN chief.

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday warned that it is dangerous to take the unilateral path in tackling the climate crisis, noting that isolation is "a trap."

"Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases respect no boundaries. Isolation is a trap. No country can succeed alone," the UN chief told the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in his video message.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue opened Monday in Berlin with an appeal to place climate protection at the center of economic recovery. The dialogue, which Germany has organized every spring since the failure of the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, is the first major international climate meeting of the year.

"COVID-19 has put the lives of billions of people around the globe in turmoil, inflicting grave suffering and destabilizing the global economy," said the secretary-general. "It has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks, and it has laid bare deep inequalities that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals."

"The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership," Guterres said. "The same leadership is needed to address the looming existential threat of climate disruption."

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (1st L) speaks during a youth dialogue at the opening of the UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 23, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Noting that last year was the second-hottest year on record, part of the hottest decade in recorded history, he said that "delayed climate action will cost us vastly more each year in terms of lost lives and livelihoods, crippled businesses and damaged economies."

"The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing," said the UN chief.

"We must urgently put in place measures to strengthen resilience and cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees," he said.

Guterres called on the international community to strengthen political will in climate action and called for "more ambition on mitigation, adaptation and financing."

"As we plan our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, we have a profound opportunity to steer our world on a more sustainable and inclusive path -- a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses a ceremony to mark World Peace Day, observed every year on Sept. 21, at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 20, 2019. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday highlighted the negative impact of climate change on world peace. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Among the six climate-related actions to shape the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that Guterres has proposed, efforts must be made to "deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green and just transition."

The UN chief once again called for ending subsidies for fossil fuel, noting that "carbon must have a price and polluters must pay for their pollution."

"To resolve both emergencies, we must work together as an international community," Guterres said.

Noting that "we have a rare and short window of opportunity to rebuild our world for the better," the secretary-general called on the international community to use the pandemic recovery to provide a foundation for a safe, healthy, inclusive and more resilient world for all people.