World losing climate race, warns UN chief Antonio Guterres, calls for shift to low carbon economy

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Published: December 12, 2019 10:24:08 PM

Speaking at the annual UN climate meeting in Madrid, Guterres cautioned the 197 nations attending the event that by the end of the century, temperature may rise by 3 to 4 degrees celsius.

Antonio Guterres, UN chief, climate change, UNFCCC, New Climate Economy, COP 25Guterres said millions of workers were on the front lines of climate impacts and many in sectors like tourism and agriculture were losing livelihoods.

The world is losing the race against climate change, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned here on Thursday, demanding bolder action from the governments and a shift to a low-carbon economy which he said represented a whopping USD 26 trillion growth opportunity and could create 65 million new jobs by 2030.

Speaking at the annual UN climate meeting in Madrid, Guterres cautioned the 197 nations attending the event that by the end of the century, temperature may rise by 3 to 4 degrees celsius. He cited a study showing that shifting to a low-carbon economy could create 65 million new jobs worldwide by 2030 and boost growth by USD 26 trillion dollars.

“We are losing the climate race. On our current trajectory, we are looking at a 3 to 4-degree temperature rise by the end of the century. But we can choose another path. This path is about people’s jobs, health, education, opportunities, and their future,” the UN Secretary-General said in his address at the 25th conference of parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The New Climate Economy tells us that shifting to a low-carbon economy represents a USD 26 trillion growth opportunity that could create 65 million new jobs by 2030. Today, the fastest-growing job creators in several economies are those related to solar, wind and geothermal energy and related businesses,” he said.

Guterres said millions of workers were on the front lines of climate impacts and many in sectors like tourism and agriculture were losing livelihoods. “The answer to the climate crisis lies in transforming how we generate our power, design our cities, and manage our land,” he said, adding that there was a need to ensure that national commitments under the landmark Paris Agreement include a just transition for people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected “as we move from the grey economy to the green.”

He said the governments have to commit, businesses have to lead, and people everywhere have to embrace the transformation that will make a carbon-neutral world by 2050. “It sounds daunting but we too often overlook the enormous opportunities linked to climate action. The green economy is the economy of the future and we need to make way for it right now,” Guterres said.

“Many governments and businesses are already racing to capitalise on it, and rethinking how to conceptualise value in a new, greener economic model,” he said. Guterres said all countries and sectors should make sure they re-train people so that they can switch careers.

“They need to take gender balance into account, create fair and decent job conditions and capitalise on this opportunity to improve social equity and leave no one behind. It is essential that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, when great transitions have left people, communities and entire nations falling by the wayside,” the UN chief said.

“We must ensure the transition to a low-carbon future is fair and inclusive. That means a future of green and decent jobs. A future where developing nations are not raided for resources and human capital but are treated as equal partners,” he added. COP 25 commenced on December 2 in Madrid with participation of nearly 200 countries. The two-week annual conference will conclude on Friday.

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