The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, seeks to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to UN news, Mr. Guterres further noted that 2017 saw a 'climate chaos' and 2018 has already brought more of the same. For instance, he noted:
- Energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.4%, to a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes.
- Weather-related disasters caused some $320 billion in economic damage, making 2017 the costliest year ever for such losses.
- The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season washed away decades of development in an instant.
- In South Asia, major monsoon floods affected 41 million people.
- In Africa, severe drought drove nearly 900,000 people from their homes.
- Wildfires caused destruction across the world.
- Arctic sea ice cover in winter is at its lowest level, and the oceans are warmer and more acidic than at any time.
I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge...This tsunami of data should create a storm of concern. The Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones. It ended because there were better alternatives. The same applies today to fossil fuels.
Commenting on the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Mr. Guterres said there are expectations that the US – independently of the position of its Administration – might be able to meet the commitments made in Paris as a country due to the positive reactions of the American business community and local authorities.
All around the world, the role of governments is less and less relevant. The role of the economy, the role of the society is more and more relevant.
He also informed that next year he will convene a climate summit in New York aimed at boosting global ambition to meet the level of the climate challenge.