UN chief warns "We are on a highway to climate hell" at COP27 summit

2022-11-08 17:16:52

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres gave a speech after welcoming the world leaders to the opening plenary at COP27.

What did you do for our world – and for our planet -- when you had the chance? 

This UN Climate Conference is a reminder that the answer is in our hands. And the clock is ticking. We are in the fight of our lives. And we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.


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

The war in Ukraine, and other conflicts, have caused so much bloodshed and violence and have had dramatic impacts all over the world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change. We must of course work together to support peace efforts and end the tremendous suffering. But climate change is on a different timeline, and a different scale. It is the defining issue of our age. It is the central challenge of our century. It is unacceptable, outrageous and self-defeating to put it on the back burner. Indeed, many of today’s conflicts are linked with growing climate chaos. …

Human activity is the cause of the climate problem. So human action must be the solution. Action to re-establish ambition. And action to rebuild trust – especially between North and South. …

At the same time, we must acknowledge a harsh truth: there is no adapting to a growing number of catastrophic events causing enormous suffering around the world. The deadly impacts of climate change are here and now. Loss and damage can no longer be swept under the rug. It is a moral imperative. It is a fundamental question of international solidarity -- and climate justice. …

Let’s redirect that money to people struggling with rising food and energy prices and to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis. On addressing loss and damage, this COP must agree on a clear, time-bound roadmap reflective of the scale and urgency of the challenge. The good news is that we know what to do and we have the financial and technological tools to get the job done. It is time for nations to come together for implementation. It is time for international solidarity across the board.  

The solidarity that respects all human rights and guarantees a safe space for environmental defenders and all actors in society to contribute to our climate response. Let’s not forget that the war on nature is in itself a massive violation of human rights.