UN Chief says climate change is an ‘existential threat’ to humanity
United Nations chief António Guterres said that none of the world’s challenges loom as large as climate change, reiterating his belief that global warming poses an “existential threat” to humanity.
“We must use all our resources to build a sense of urgency [to raise ambition], while keeping temperature rises in the years ahead, as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible,” Guterres said.
Noting that climate change continues to move faster than climate action, Guterres quoted the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change saying: “The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”
However, he said there was reason to hope, declaring that “the world is seeing a groundswell of climate action”, citing examples, including Morocco’s building of a solar farm “the size of Paris, that will power over a million homes by 2020” and China’s achievement in already passing it’s 2020 goal of producing 105 gigawatts of solar power capacity.
“We must build on this,” the UN chief emphasized, calling renewable energy – which already produces a fifth of the world’s electricity – power that also delivers significant health benefits.
Right now, the World Health Organization reports that more than 80 percent of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor-quality air that is damaging human health.
“Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally. For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years,” Guterres said.