Katowice: Urging countries to make "political compromises" and "sacrifices", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday made a passionate appeal to governments to find a common ground to tackle climate change as nations from across the globe continued deliberations at the UN climate talks here to finalise the implementation guidelines of the Paris accord.
Acknowledging that tough political decisions are needed to be taken for the nations to reach an agreement, Guterres said, this is the time for consensus. "This is the time for political compromises to be reached. This means sacrifices, but it will benefit us all collectively. I challenge you to work together. I challenge you to accelerate and finish the job. And I challenge you to raise ambition on all fronts," he said.
Noting that the deadline to finalise the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) was a target the nations imposed upon themselves at the COP22 in Moroccan city Marrakech in 2016, Guterres said both the Convention and the Paris Agreement recognise that all countries have different realities, capacities and circumstances.
"We must find a formula that balances the responsibilities of all countries. This will allow us to have a regime that is fair and effective for all," he told the delegates at the 195-nation UN forum tasked with finding solution to global warming. The UN chief said meeting the deadline means the nations can immediately unleash the full potential of the Paris Agreement and its promise of a low-emissions climate-resilient future.
"Failing here in Katowice would send a disastrous message to those who stand ready to shift to a green economy. So, I urge you to find common ground that will allow us to show the world that we are listening, that we care," Guterres said at the closing of the high-level segment of the Talanoa Dialogue at the COP-24 here.
Amidst differences among nations on number of issues, including finance, the UN chief said the developed countries must scale up their contributions to jointly mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020. Guterres said he has appointed the French President and the Jamaican Prime Minister to lead the mobilisation of the international community, both public and private, to reach the target of $100 billion.
"We need to strengthen the Green Climate Fund," Guterres said, hailing Germany's pledge to double its contribution in the current replenishment process.
He said Germany's move is a very positive sign and he hope that it will inspire other nations to do the same.
The 2015 Paris Agreement vows to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius and funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries worse hit by deadly storms, heatwaves and droughts. "The eyes of the world are upon us...more than 32,000 people have come here to find solutions to climate change. They are inspired, engaged and they want us to deliver. They want us to finish the job," Guterres said.
"To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal," he added.
The UN chief also said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which called for capping Earth's rising temperature at 1.5 deg C to avoid the danger of runaway warming, cannot be ignored.
His comments came in the wake of several countries, including the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait, blocking the efforts to endorse the report during the climate talks. "The IPCC special report is a stark acknowledgment of what the consequences of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees C will mean for billions of people around the world, especially those who call small island states home... we cannot afford to ignore it," he said.
Guterres said the IPCC report outlined a catastrophic future if no action was taken immediately. "It also clearly states that the window of opportunity is closing. We no longer have the luxury of time. That's why we need to have our work here in Katowice finalised — and finalised in less than three days," he said.
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Updated Date: Dec 14, 2018 15:46 PM