By Mary Hearty
As greenhouse gas emissions keep growing and global temperatures keep rising, the planet is fast approaching a tipping point that will make climate chaos irreversible.
Thus, developed and developing economies have been urged to accelerate actions toward achieving global net zero emissions by 2050.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, is among the global leaders cautioning that the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is on life support thus, failure to collectively accelerate stronger actions will push the planet to a point of no return.
Even though progress with the just energy transition partnerships are being made, the UN Secretary-General said much more is needed as around three and a half billion people are living in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
“I am calling for a historic Pact between developed and developing economies. A Pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with 1.5 degree goal,” he affirmed.
The Pact, he said, should be one that wealthier countries and International Financial Institutions provide financial and technical assistance to help emerging economies speed up their own renewable energy transition.
Also, it should end dependence on fossil fuels and the building of new coal plants – phasing out coal in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040 while providing universal, affordable, sustainable energy for all.
Additionally, the Pact should unite developed and emerging economies around a common strategy and combine capacities and resources for the benefit of humankind.
As the two largest economies, Guterres said, the United States and China have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this Pact a reality.
“This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals. Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact,” he declared.
On addressing funding, Guterres stressed that half of the climate change funding must be focused on adaptation, hence international financial institutions and global development banks need to change their economic models and also do their share to boost adaptation models.
“They must serve as tools to intensify more financial resources to address effects of climate change, and countries and communities must have access to that funding which must be channeled to key initiatives such as the Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator,” he said.
Also, Guterres pointed out the need to recognize that the first stage of adaptation resources must exceed USD300 million per year by 2030.
“We need progress in adaptation in order to reinforce resilience to climate change now and in the future,” he stated.
According to Macky Sall, Senegal’s President, those who pollute the most should pay the most in order to get our planet off this climate crisis track.
He noted that the implementation of adaptation is something that should be funded by grants and donations as per agreed conventions, adding that countries often rely on debt to develop green investments.
Also, President Sall said, accumulated funding for adaptation anticipated before 2030 will unfortunately account for less than a quarter of the estimated needs that Africa has as part of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
“Make history by shouldering and honoring our commitments, including the USD100 billion in the brunt of history because we do not share our responsibilities that have to be shared. We are determined to make history rather than simply be victims,” he said.
“Together with our partners we will do all we can to ensure that the Sharm Al-Sheikh conference is not simply a business as usual but for future generations as well as the current generation.”