Next two years crucial to save the planet: UN Climate Change Executive Secretary

Even as the world faces the grim reality of climate change and its ramifications, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said humans have two years to save the world. Speaking at the Chatham House in London, England on April 10, Stiell said the statement may have come across as “dramatic”  but the next couple of years are pivotal to salvage the planet.

Asserting that there is no room for half-baked measures amid record breaking heat waves, changing climate patterns and damage to economies, he said the race to determine the biggest winners in a new clean energy economy has begun. “With the global index of living standards in constant flux, each country’s climate responses will be key to whether they rise up the ladder or fall. Whether they thrive or barely survive,” he stated.

Talking about the Paris Agreement which aims at limiting the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F), Stiell said national climate plans – called Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs –  in aggregate will barely cut emissions at all by 2030. Only a quantum leap in climate finance this year will help many countries to implement strong new climate plans, he added.

Reiterating the need for newer and stronger plans by countries, Stiell spoke about the significance of G20 leadership  as G20 emissions accounting for 80% of global emissions is a reality.

“So G20 leadership must be at the core of the solution, as it was during the great financial crisis. That’s when the G20 came of age and showed major developed and developing economies can work together to avert global economic catastrophes,” he claimed.

Stiell also spoke about how every citizen of a country can be a part of this change with conscious choices. He also said none of the Sustainable Development Goals would be possible if the climate crisis is not brought under control.
The inequalities will only compound, he added, while stressing the need for a quantum leap in climate finance to ensure poorer and vulnerable countries benefit.

“The G7 has a crucial role too, this year chaired by Italy. G7 governments are the key shareholders in the World Bank and IMF. In truth, they provide both capital and direction,” he said.

“When I say we have two years to save the world, it begs the question – who exactly has two years to save the world?
The answer is every person on this planet. More and more people want climate action right across societies and political spectrums, in large part because they are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis in their everyday lives and their household budgets. Rising costs for fossil-fuel-powered transport… for heating and cooling… energy… rising food prices as climate disasters hit production and supply chains… to name just a few. The only surefire way to get climate up the cabinet agenda is if enough people raise their voices,” Stiell said.


[This story is a part of ‘Punascha Pruthibi – One Earth. Unite for It’, an awareness campaign by Sambad Digital.]

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