The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, on Monday issued a blistering critique of the world’s failure to rein in global warming, calling on countries to return every year to review their climate targets — not every five years, as the Paris climate agreement spells out.
“Even if the recent pledges were clear and credible — and there are serious questions about some of them — we are still careening towards climate catastrophe,” he said at the opening ceremony of COP26The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.
“Our planet is talking to us,” Mr. Guterres said. “We must listen, and we must act.”
He was referring specifically to analyses that found that even if all countries achieve their national targets, not all do. slow down emissionsThe global average temperature will rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius in the next century, compared to preindustrial times. The world would be on a path towards more intense temperatures. heat, flooding and fires.
Scientists concluded that the best way for climate change to be avoided is to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Mr. Guterres’ call for yearly reviews is being pushed by a group of countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, but it is expected to face major pushback from many countries that will argue that it moves the goal posts of the 2015 Paris agreement.
Mr. Guterres stated that these annual reviews should continue until the world can reach the 1.5-degree goal. He also demanded specific requirements, such as the end of subsidies for fossil fuels and a price on carbon dioxide, and a phasing-out of coal.
There is no agreement among the world’s major polluters on any of that. Even as recently as Sunday, leaders of the Group of 20 wealthy nations — which produce 80 percent of the world’s emissions, led by the United States, China and European Union countries — emerged from a summit in RomeWith an agreement to cease overseas funding of coal.