‘Enough of treating nature like a toilet,’ UN chief tells summit

Amid growing criticism of world leaders for failing to do enough to fight climate change, there has been “enough of treating nature like a toilet,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a key climate change meeting Monday.

“Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink. Enough of brutalizing biodiversity,” Guterres said at the opening at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference.

He said recent announcements of steps to fight climate action might give the impression that “we are on track to turn things around.”

This is an illusion, he stressed, citing a recent report which showed that the world is still on track to face a calamitous 2.7C temperature rise.

Even in the best-case scenario, temperatures will rise well above 2C, he said, warning: “So, as we open this much-anticipated climate conference, we are still heading for climate disaster.”

‘Developed, emerging economies must build coalitions’

He also urged both developed countries and emerging economies to build coalitions to create the financial and technological conditions to accelerate the decarbonization of the economy.

“These coalitions are meant to support the large emitters that face more difficulties in the transition from grey to green for them to be able to do it,” he underlined.

If commitments fall short by the end of this meeting, he warned, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies.

Confusion over emissions cuts

Arguing that there is a deficit of credibility and a surplus of confusion over emissions reductions, he said:

“That is why – beyond the mechanisms already established in the (2015) Paris Agreement – I am announcing today that I will establish a group of experts to propose clear standards to measure and analyze net zero commitments from non-state actors.”

He also called on all donors to allocate half their climate finance to adaptation, adding that public and multilateral development banks should start as soon as possible.

“This COP (meeting) must be a moment of solidarity,” he said, adding the $100 billion a year in climate finance commitment to support developing countries must become a reality.

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