Despite decades of climate talks progress has been insufficient

Guterres: Earth on a highway to climate hell

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today spoke before countries’ representatives gathered at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt. He told them that they had a choice. First, they may work together now to reduce emissions. The second is to condemn future generations to climate disaster.

The speech struck the guests at the summit. Yes, it had an urgent tone as it should have. The climate problem is as much a problem as Russia’s war in Ukraine, rampant consumer inflation, and energy shortages. And government representatives who gather for two weeks on talks of how to avert the worst effects of climate change should take Guterres’ warning more than seriously.

A solution to the climate problem: cooperate or perish

Guterres, as simply as possible, told delegates gathered in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh that humanity has a choice: to cooperate or perish. And that’s it — no other options in a sight.

He advocated for a global agreement between the world’s richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. He also advocated funding to ensure that poorer countries can reduce emissions and cope with existing climate impacts.

Guterres believes that the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, bear a special responsibility to work together. They are most responsible to make the agreement a reality.

A lot of talking, doing nothing

Despite decades of climate talks progress has been insufficient. At the Egypt COP, which is the 27th Conference of the Parties, we are still far from saving the planet from excessive warming. Guterres said it is so because countries are too slow or reluctant to act.

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Global temperatures continue to increase. And, as he said, our planet is rapidly approaching tipping points. If we reach those tipping points, that will make climate chaos irreversible. We are speeding pushing the gas pedal on the way to climate hell, he said.

Gore: We have a credibility problem when it comes to climate change

Former US Vice President Al Gore also spoke at the event. He stated that world leaders have a credibility problem when it comes to climate change. Gore called developed countries’ continued pursuit of gas resources in Africa “fossil fuel colonialism.”

Gore explained that the credibility problem means that responsible politicians are talking and starting to act. But, as Gore said, they are not doing enough. He condemned the practice of leaving countries around the world facing climate chaos. And he condemned the practice of rich countries investing billions of dollars in stranded assets, particularly in Africa.