It has been five years since 195 countries signed the Paris climate agreement. Now the UN Secretary General is calling on all countries in the world to impose a “climate emergency”.
Five years after the United Nations climate agreement was reached, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all countries in the world to declare a “climate emergency”. This should hold true until CO2 neutrality is achieved, i.e. it means that no additional greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, Guterres said Saturday at the start of a one-day, digital climate summit.
In Paris, states had pledged to limit the temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees as possible, Guterres said. But the climate protection commitments made there were not enough, and even these would not be fulfilled. If the world community does not change course, a catastrophic temperature increase of more than 3 degrees is expected in this century. “Can anyone deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?”
The EU Parliament declared a state of emergency a year ago
38 states have already declared the “climate emergency,” Guterres said. They take into account the urgency and the risk. “I call on everyone else to join.” The world is not doomed to failure.
Many cities, regions and states have already declared a climate emergency or state of emergency, the European Parliament declared it for the entire EU in November 2019. This is usually a symbolic act that underlines the urgency of the climate crisis.
China announced further efforts
The revival after the corona pandemic offers an opportunity to lead the economy and society on a “green path”. “But that is not happening yet,” warned Guterres. The economically strong G20 states spend 50 percent more in their economic stimulus packages on areas affected by the production and consumption of coal, oil and natural gas than on climate-friendly energy. “That is not acceptable,” said the UN Secretary General.
At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced further efforts by his country to protect the climate. By 2030, China will reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product by more than 65 percent from 2005. The share of non-fossil energy sources in total energy consumption should increase to about 25 percent, Xi said. In addition, it must be reforested and wind and solar energy must be further expanded. China is the country with the largest greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged nearly 500 million euros to support poorer countries with climate protection. “All states must be able to fund the necessary investments in climate protection,” the CDU politician said in a video message. “So cheap capital must be available worldwide.” Germany wants to provide an additional EUR 500 million and fulfill its promise to double climate funding to EUR 4 billion a year by 2020.
Von der Leyen: “Taking climate protection to a new level of ambition”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said she welcomed the commitment the 27 EU countries made the day before to “take climate protection to a new level of ambition”. This is a starting shot for the promotion of climate protection in business and society. After difficult negotiations, the heads of state or government agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. So far, the target has been 40 percent.
“We are serious about getting our economy on a more sustainable path,” said von der Leyen. But Europe is responsible for less than ten percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. Climate change is not only a task for Europe, but also for humanity. “A lot has to change before the planet stays the same for the next generation,” she said. It is also about preserving biological diversity and creating a new circular economy that brings jobs and prosperity while protecting nature.