UN chief ‘very worried’ over possible COP26 failure

PARIS – United Nations Antonio Guterres said the current climate situation was “a one-way ticket for disaster” and stressed the need to avoid a failure at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, struck at the COP21 summit, called for capping global warming at well below 2 deg C above the pre-industrial level, and ideally closer to 1.5 deg C.

But current UN estimates indicate a catastrophic warming of 2.7 deg C is on the cards.

Mr Guterres said the present indications “show a pathway of at least 2.7 deg C heating above pre-industrial levels, and that’s obviously a one way ticket for disaster”.

“The carbon pollution of a handful of countries has brought humanity to its knees and they bear the greatest responsibility,” he an online press conference with members of the Covering Climate Now international project.

“I hope we are still on time to avoid a failure in Glasgow, but time is running short, and things are getting more difficult and that is why I’m very, very worried. I’m afraid things might get wrong,” he said.

“The G-20 leaders will meet in Rome and they know their economies are responsible for four-fifth of planet carbon pollution,” Mr Guterres said. “If they do not stand up…we are headed for terrible human sufferings.”

He added: “China and the United States must do more than what they have announced so far.”

Held between Oct 31 and Nov 12, the Glasgow gathering is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming.

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