‘Save Tuvalu; save the world’; UN chief echoes rallying cry from front lines of global climate emergency

UNICEF/Sokhin A 16-year-old child swims in the flooded area of Aberao village in Kiribati. The Pacific island is one of the countries worst affected by sea-level rise.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Further inaction on climate change is “simply not an option”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in an opinion piece where he called for “rapid and deep change in how we do business, generate power, build cities and feed the world.”

If the world is to prevail against climate change, “then we must find the political will to take transformative measures,” declared the UN chief.

“Leaders must come to the UN summit in September armed with solutions as well as speeches”, he stressed, referring to the action-focused meeting he is convening in September to mobilize political ambition on climate change and push forward the goals of the Paris Agreement, which encompass greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

On his recent Pacific tour to the frontlines of the global climate emergency, he heard the rallying cry “Save Tuvalu; save the world,” while visiting the tiny island archipelago that is battling sea level rise and coastal erosion as warming temperatures threaten the region.

“I was there to show solidarity with those suffering the worst impacts of climate change and to draw attention to the innovative climate action underway in the region,” explained the UN chief.

Sea level rise in some Pacific countries is “four times greater than the global average”, he stated, saying that it poses “an existential threat to several island States”.

“Oceans are in serious trouble, from coral bleaching to biodiversity loss to plastic pollution”, he warned. “Extreme weather events are on the rise, jeopardizing lives and livelihoods”.

Mr. Guterres spelled out: “Nowhere have I seen the heartbreaking impacts of climate change more starkly than in Tuvalu, a remote coral atoll nation where the highest point is less than five metres above sea level.”

He recounted a visit to the home of a family “who live in a state of perpetual anxiety about inundation by the relentlessly rising seas just steps away”.

The UN chief was “deeply moved by the warmth of the Tuvaluan people and their intense devotion to their land, way of life and cultural heritage”, he said, adding that while these communities have contributed almost nothing to climate change, because of big emitters, “they are now fighting to preserve their country’s very existence”.

The ‘whole planet’ at stake

“Make no mistake: it is not just Tuvalu, or small islands, or the Pacific at stake”, underscored the Secretary-General. “It is the whole planet”.

What is happening to these countries “is a sign of what is in store for the rest of us”, he warned. “People all over the world are starting to feel the impacts of the climate emergency – and these will only worsen”.

The UN chief recalled meeting young children who “are already fearful for their future and are relying on my generation to secure it”.

“As Secretary-General of the UN, I have many battles”, he said. “But as a grandfather, the struggle against climate change is the fight of my life”.

Noting that “we are not winning”, Mr. Guterres urged that political will must be fund “to take transformative measures”.

“We must acknowledge the moral authority of the Pacific nations, frontrunners in the race against the climate emergency”, he stated

“And we must find sustainable solutions, invest in renewable energies and increase resilience and adaptation”.

Achieving ‘essential’ goals

The clearly laid-out goals of the scientific community to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century, are “essential”, according to the UN chief.

As the global community pursues those goals, he restated his message to Governments to “shift taxes from salaries to carbon”, saying “we should tax pollution, not people”.

He also urged them to “stop subsidizing fossil fuels” because “taxpayers’ money should not be used to boost hurricanes, spread drought and heat waves, and melt glaciers”.

“Stop building new coal plants by 2020”, he continued. “We need a green economy, not a grey one”.

He stressed that we have the tools to tackle the climate crisis, to “save lives and property, breathe less polluted air, access cleaner water and protect biodiversity”.

“Climate action could also yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion, compared to business as usual, through to 2030, making it a cost-effective option” argued the UN chief.

Turning to his climate action summit, Mr. Guterres flagged that he is asking world leaders to come “not just with speeches” but with “plans to transform energy, mobility, industry and agriculture”, and to implement their commitments to climate financing, “not out of generosity but enlightened self-interest”.

“Urgent climate action is a choice we can – and must – make”, concluded the Secretary-General. “As the people of Tuvalu know all too well: Saving them will save us all”.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

Entrepreneur India Convention 2016: Bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Startups and SMEs

Recovering from COVID-19: these are the risks to anticipate now – before it’s too late

Empty stadiums and online streaming: how coronavirus is affecting the media industry

Change is happening – and young people are leading the way forward

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

Prisoner executions in Belarus ‘simply unacceptable’, says UN rights body

Indexation of family benefits, child tax credit and family tax credits: Commission takes Austria to Court for discrimination

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs more arts graduates

Questions and answers: Commission proposes SURE, a new temporary instrument worth up to €100 billion to help protect jobs and people in work

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Artificial Intelligence: guidelines for military and non-military use

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

This is how we can save millions of people from extreme poverty after COVID-19

Listen to the future – how 26 youth-led organizations are supercharging the UN’s Global Goals

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

New UN-Syrian Action Plan signals an ‘important day’ for child protection, says UN envoy

‘We all must step up’ collective action on disability inclusion – UN deputy chief

Environmental Implementation Review: Commission helps Member States to better apply EU environment rules to protect citizens and enhance their quality of life

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Consultant in Forensic Technology – 1969

Does the “climate change” require ombudsman services for environment?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament ready to fight for a different EU budget

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Why is Merkel’s Germany so liberal with the refugees? Did the last elections change that?

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

Make this the year of ‘transformative solutions’ to avert disastrous climate change: UN Deputy Chief

Migration: Better travel safe than sorry

3 strategies for Africa to thrive in this new era of globalization

Quantitative easing: how Mario can tackle low inflation in Eurozone

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

How AI is shaping financial services

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

It’s 100 years since US women got the right to vote, but how has gender equality changed?

The cost of housing is tearing our society apart

‘Champion for multilateralism’ readies to hand over UN General Assembly gavel

Climate change is a security threat. We must act now

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

Almost all businesses expect to face a crisis. And how they deal with them really counts

UN chief commends Algerians for ‘mature and calm’ demonstrations for change, leading up to presidential resignation

Trump in London poisons UK and Europe

India: step up reform efforts to increase quality jobs and incomes

Why David Cameron’s large victory in UK elections will not pursue a ‘Brexit’

UK must end ‘unlawful’ administration of Chagos Archipelago ‘as rapidly as possible,’ top UN court rules

Latin America and Caribbean region deadliest for journalists in 2019

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s