Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the latest report from UN climate scientists “couldn’t come at a more important time.”
The head of the United Nations called on scientists to present “cold hard facts” to push governments to create policies that curb climate change before a key global warming threshold is crossed.
His remarks came as experts and officials from around the world gathered for a week-long meeting in the Swiss Alpine town of Interlaken to finalize the latest of seven reports released by the global panel of top scientists since the 2010 climate accord. Paris in 2015 was forged.
In a video address to delegates on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “couldn’t come at a more important time.”
“Our world is at a crossroads — and our planet is in the crosshairs,” he said. “We are approaching the point of no return, exceeding the internationally agreed limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) for global warming.”
That threshold, agreed in Paris nearly eight years ago and measured against average temperatures in pre-industrial times, has become the benchmark for climate scientists warning of the dangers of an increasingly hotter planet.
‘The right decisions’
Guterres cited recent IPCC reports showing that while some of the effects of global warming are already unavoidable, “it is possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees with rapid and far-reaching emissions reductions in all sectors of the world economy”.
Some scientists disagree, noting that the rate at which greenhouse gases are being pumped into the atmosphere makes it nearly impossible to adhere to this limit.
The UN chief said the final installment in the IPCC’s sixth reporting cycle — known as the Synthesis Report because it brings together insights from six previous papers — should provide governments with “solid, candid, detailed scientific guidance to make the right decisions for man and planet. when they come together for the annual global climate conference in Dubai at the end of this year.
Guterres stressed that accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuels is “tough but essential.”
“Show the urgent need to end global warming with cold hard facts,” he told delegates.