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Humanity ‘On the highway to climate hell,’ if global warming not curbed, says Guterres


Credit: UN Climate Change

HQ team

November 9, 2022:This year’s annual UN climate change summit has some harsh facts for the entire globe to confront. Climate-led natural disasters and upsets are not some future happening but staring at us, and it is time to make some harsh decisions. The UN secretary-general António Guterres talking at COP27 said that humanity faces a “shared suicide” by letting the disastrous effects of global warming continue unabated.

This message was the opening address at COP27 – the annual UN climate change summit.

The UN secretary-general proposed implementing taxation on oil companies’ windfall profits and redirecting the proceeds to developing nations as part of climate finance measures. He said the world’s developing countries – located closer to the equator than more developed northern hemisphere nations – are disproportionately impacted by climate change effects.

This is part of the Climate Solidarity Pact, where nations would take additional carbon reduction measures, including the transfer of finance from wealthy countries to developing economies.

 “This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals,” Guterres said.

“It is the defining issue of our age. It is the central challenge of our century. Putting it on the back burner is unacceptable, outrageous, and self-defeating.

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

Climate crisis and Ukraine War

Guterres said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was the product of “fossil fuel addiction.”

The consequences of that conflict have been an increase in the price of fossil fuels – like gas – which have rippled across neighbouring European nations and the wider world.

Anger is directed at the oil industry, whose multibillion-dollar profits since the war began in February have led to rampant consumer inflation.

“It is about time that these companies are made to pay a global COP carbon tax on these profits as a source of funding for loss and damage,” Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told fellow leaders.

“While they are profiting, the planet is burning,” said Browne, speaking on behalf of the 39-nation Alliance of Small Island States, who are threatened by rising sea levels and increasingly intense tropical storms.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley wants a 10 per cent tax on oil companies to fund loss and damage.

A 30-point plan to help the world’s poorest communities global warming against global warming has been proposed at the COP27. The plan seeks to disburse up to $300bn a year from private and public investors.

“The COP27 presidency has long articulated our commitment to bringing together state and non-state actors to progress on adaptation and resilience for the 4 billion people that live in the most climate vulnerable regions by 2030,” the summit’s president and Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs, Sameh Shoukry, said in a statement.

A UN Environment Programme report says that less than a third of US$100 billion climate finance has been delivered since it was committed at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. The UN Secretary-General emphasised that the developed nations cannot hide behind the fear of climate reparations.

He said that there was a “toxic cover-up” by companies as they claim to be net zero and then invest in new fossil fuels or offset emissions instead of reducing them.

“Using bogus ‘net-zero’ pledges to cover up massive fossil fuel expansion is reprehensible. It is rank deception,” Antonio Guterres said.

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