LONDON: The last six months have provided a glimpse into the catastrophic potential of climate disruption, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Friday.
Speaking at a virtual youth dialogue on climate just weeks before UN talks on the matter, Mohammed said storms, floods, drought-induced famine, raging wildfires and heat waves brought about by climate change are causing tremendous suffering to people worldwide.
“No one is exempt. Hurricane Ida here in New York caused devastating loss of life and widespread disruption and the most affected communities are the most vulnerable and marginalised in any country,” Mohammed said.
“So the issue of inequality is very high on everyone’s agenda. Our window of opportunity to fight the climate crisis is rapidly closing. And that’s why the secretary-general has called for three major priorities leading to COP26,” Mohammed explained.
She said the first priority would be to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial averages.
A new report from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on the Nationally Determined Contributions of all Parties to the Paris Agreement shows that the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees of heating.
The world is on a “catastrophic pathway” toward a hotter future unless governments make more ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the UN’s secretary-general said Friday.
“This is breaking the promise made six years ago to pursue the 1.5 degree Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement. Failure to meet this goal will be measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods,” Antonio Guterres said.
“We need a 45 percent cut in emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. Today’s report implies an increase of 16 percent in emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 levels,” he added.
Mohammed said the second priority is to ensure that developed countries meet their financial commitments.
“That is why investing $100 billion per year in developing countries and ensuring that countries in need can access resources to protect their people against the impact of climate change is key,” she said.
Mohammed said that the climate finance report also published on Friday by the OECD shows that this goal has not been reached either.
“We still have a gap of $20 billion. And let’s make it clear, the $100 billion is a handshake of the world’s commitment to financing these transitions so we can get to the 1.5 degree world. It is not the money that is needed for climate action. That runs into the trillions,” the deputy secretary-general warned.
The third priority is the need for a breakthrough in adaptation and resilience, “ensuring that at least 50 percent of all climate finance is directed to it,” Mohammed said.
“While some donors honour this commitment, overall we are falling short with just 20 percent of global finance currently directed to adaptation solutions.”
Mohammed said that although countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden are leading the way, “we still need to see the multilateral development banks step up significantly.”
“It’s time for us to raise our voices even further and to join forces to accelerate action,” Mohammed told the forum.