UN chief blasts governments as COP25 gets underway
‘If we don’t urgently change our way of life, we jeopardize life itself,’ Guterres says.
MADRID — U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday blasted the world’s big emitters for failing to cut greenhouse gases.
“All the main emitters must do more,” he said at the formal opening of the COP25 climate summit. That includes boosting climate commitments under the Paris Agreement next year, adopting carbon neutrality as a long-term target, and decarbonizing major sectors such as energy, transport and construction.
“Without full engagement of big emitters, all our efforts will be undermined,” Guterres said, calling for a “transformational” change to “how we generate power, how we build cities, how we move.”
“If we don’t urgently change our way of life, we jeopardize life itself,” he said.
Hoesung Lee, chair of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, underlined the growing climate challenge.
“Our IPCC assessments show that climate change stabilization implies greenhouse gas emissions must start to peak from next year, but emissions are continuing to increase with no sign of peaking soon,” he said. “We are clearly in a crisis.”
The summit was opened by Chile’s COP President Carolina Schmidt; the event had to be shifted from Santiago to Madrid due to anti-government protests.
The two-week summit is meant to wrap up outstanding chapters of the Paris Agreement’s rulebook and prepare the ground for next year’s COP26, when countries will be under pressure to boost their climate pledges.