G20’s success basic precondition for success of UN Climate Change Conference: UN SG Guterres

United Nations: The upcoming G20 Summit in New Delhi is among the “critical opportunities ahead” for accelerated action on climate change, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, emphasising that the grouping’s success is a “basic precondition” for the success of the UN climate change conference.

As the World Meteorological Organisation and the European Commission’s Copernicus Climate Change Service released official data confirming that July 2023 is set to be the hottest month ever recorded in human history, Guterres said humanity is in the hot seat. Guterres said that for vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe – it is a cruel summer but it is a disaster for the entire planet.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. The air is unbreathable. The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable,” he said.

The UN Chief called on global leaders to lead, saying there should be no more hesitancy, no more excuses and no more waiting for others to move first.

“Accelerating temperatures demand accelerated action. We have several critical opportunities ahead. The Africa Climate Summit. The G20 Summit. The UN Climate Ambition Summit. COP28,” Guterres said.

India assumed the year-long presidency of the G20 on December 1, 2022 and is hosting over 200 meetings and related events in cities across its length and breadth that will culminate in a global Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10 later this year to be attended by over 40 Heads of State, Heads of Government and international organizations.

A G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted at the conclusion of the New Delhi Summit, stating “Leaders’ commitment towards the priorities discussed and agreed upon during the respective ministerial and working group meetings.” In response to a question on whether the G20 meeting in New Delhi is now more important than COP, Guteress said “No. The COP is a decisive moment where the international community comes together.” He added that the crucial problem to reduce emissions is to make sure that the big emitters reduce emissions.

“But small island developing states are victims of climate change.

They are doing their best to reduce the emissions but they are not the problem. The problem are developed countries and the emerging economies that meet in the G20.

And so, the G20’s success is a basic precondition for the success of the COP, because nobody else can compensate if those members of the G20 do not seriously engage in a dramatic reduction of that emissions.” On September 20, Guterres will convene the Climate Ambition Summit at United Nations Headquarters during the annual high-level General Assembly session.

The UN said the “Summit represents a critical political milestone for demonstrating that there is collective global will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate-resilient global economy.” The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) will convene from November 30 to December 12, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Guterres said leaders – and particularly G20 countries responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions – must step up for climate action and climate justice, adding that there is need for ambitious new national emissions reduction targets from G20 members.

The UN Chief underscored that it is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the very worst of climate change but this can be achieved only with dramatic, immediate climate action. Expressing concern that extreme weather is becoming the new normal, Guterres called on all countries to respond and protect their people from the searing heat, fatal floods, storms, droughts, and raging fires that result.

Underlining that finance is another key area for accelerated climate action, Guterres said promises made on international climate finance must be promises kept.

“Developed countries must honour their commitments to provide USD 100 billion a year to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund,” he said as he voiced concern that only two G7 countries – Canada and Germany – have made until now replenishment pledges.

“Countries must also operationalize the loss and damage fund at COP28 this year. No more delays; no more excuses,” he said.