COP26 Outcome Great But Unsatisfactory – UN Sec-Gen

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The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres
The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres.

The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, has maintained that though outcomes of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting are a welcome development, more needs to be done to mitigate the impending climate catastrophe.

Guterres, speaking on the heels of the just-concluded event last weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, said though the approved texts at the end of deliberations showed a compromise – as they reflect the interests, conditions, contradictions and the state of political will in the world today – they take important steps, but unfortunately the collective political will was insufficient to overcome “deep contradictions”. 

He renewed the call for the world to accelerate action to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive, stressing the fragile planet is hanging by a thread, emphasizing the world is still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe and advising for the induction of an emergency mode or risk losing the chance of reaching net-zero. 

“I reaffirm my conviction that we must end fossil fuels subsidies. Phase out coal. Put a price on carbon. Build resilience of vulnerable communities against the here and now impacts of climate change and make good on the $100billion climate finance commitment to support developing countries.  

“We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress. Commitments to end deforestation, drastically reduce methane emissions, mobilise private finance around net-zero. The texts today reaffirm the resolve towards the 1.5 degree goal, to boost climate finance for adaptation and recognize the need to strengthen support for vulnerable countries suffering from irreparable climate damage.   

“For the first time they encourage International Financial Institutions to consider climate vulnerabilities in concessional financial and other forms of support, including Special Drawing Rights and finally close the Paris rule book with agreement on carbon markets and transparency,” he said.

He welcomed the agreement between the U.S and China to accelerate action to reduce emissions in the 2020s, even as he stressed the need to build coalitions of support including developed countries, financial institutions and those with the technical know-how to help lower emissions in many other emerging economies.

Closing with the message of hope and resolve to young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, all those leading the climate action army, Guterres opined though there may be detours in the path of progress, the world’s objective of mitigating climate change remained achievable and the road to the COP 27 starts now.

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