At a meeting in Abu Dhabi, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reminded leaders that climate change is progressing faster than the world’s top scientists have predicted, and that the international community must deliver an adequate response, making use of key opportunities to do so this year and the next.
“We are here because the world is facing a grave climate emergency. Climate disruption is happening now, and it is happening to all of us. We are in a battle for our lives. But it is a battle we can win,” UN Secretary-General said.
António Guterres drew attention to recent reports that Himalyan glaciers are meanwhile melting at double the rate since the turn of the century, threatening water supplies throughout Central, South and East Asia.
The central purpose of the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting that gather together governments and leaders from all sectors including business, is to take stock of progress so far across all the Action Areas of the 23 September Climate Action Summit convened by the UN Secretary-General, and identify and develop proposals for initiatives that can be announced at the Summit.
This year is being termed as the “year of climate ambiton”, given that the concrete climate action plans need to be designed and presented well ahead of any formal submissions under the Paris Agreement. The September Summit is a key moment to do so.
“I am asking all leaders to present plans – at the summit or at the latest by December 2020 – to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and get to carbon neutrality by 2050,” António Guterres emphasized.
On Monday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) highlighted the fact that the Earth is set to experience its five warmest years on record from 2015-2019.
Temperatures have topped 50°C in India, Pakistan and parts of the Middle East in recent weeks. The unusually early heatwave in Europe, with temperatures in France and Spain exceeding 40°C, is just the latest in a series of extreme weather events.