Saturday, March 23, 2019

UN Secretary General Amplifies the Urgent Message from the Climate Strikes

Unprecedented student climate strikes have earned the support of many senior officials including António Guterres the Secretary General of the United Nations. Adults don't seem to be able to grasp the seriousness of our situation, Guterres said in a Guardian article. "[W]e are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing – we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial. My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry."

Guterres said world leaders should be inspired by the student led climate strikes.  He said the urgency of the situation must translate to concrete actions when officials come together for the New York climate summit scheduled for September. His call to action also included a warning. "Without ambitious action, the Paris agreement is meaningless," Guterres said. He vowed to try to "build the future we need" by delivering "concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero by 2050".

The summit will challenge a wide range of stakeholders to develop solutions in the following areas: Renewable energy, emission reductions, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, management of forests and oceans, withstanding climate impacts, and investing in the green economy.

Guterres also said business is on our side citing the economic and employment benefits from climate action. He also spoke about the the need for "radical change" as we transition away from fossil fuels towards clean sources of energy and transportation.
"Momentum is building, people are listening and there is a new determination to unleash the promise of the Paris agreement. The climate summit must be the starting point to build the future we need," Guterres said adding a personal message for concerned students. "I know young people can and do change the world...Many of you are anxious and fearful for the future, and I understand your concerns and your anger. But I know humankind is capable of enormous achievements. Your voices give me hope. The more I see your commitment and activism, the more confident I am that we will win. Together, with your help and thanks to your efforts, we can and must beat this threat and create a cleaner, safer, greener world for everyone."
The climate strikes managed to breathe new life into the Paris agreement. The actions of Greta and the support she is getting from some high profile officials is a hopeful sign. 

Related
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