UN General Secretary warns at the opening of COP26


The secretary general of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, said this Monday (1st) that the use of fossil fuels is bringing living conditions on the planet to a limit. The statement was given during the opening ceremony of the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), which will be held until the next 12th, in Glasgow, UK.

In his speech, Guterres thanked the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and the President of the COP, Alok Sharma, for their efforts to carry out the meeting, which presents itself as an opportunity for essential changes in facing the impacts of global warming.

According to the UN secretary-general, the six years that have passed since the signing of the Paris Agreement, at COP21, have registered historic increases in global temperature, which highlights the urgency of the necessary actions. “Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the limit. We face a difficult choice: either we stop it or it stops us. It’s time to say: enough!”.

By the end of COP26, the countries are expected to reach consensus on ways to put into practice the proposals included in the Paris Agreement. The meeting has as a backdrop the increasingly frequent occurrence of extreme weather events in different regions of the planet, resulting in social and economic impacts.

climate catastrophe

Recent announcements related to the climate agenda may give the impression that we are on the right path to reversing the climate crisis. However, the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed otherwise. Even if the targets announced by the signatory countries in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are met, the world would be condemned to an increase in the global average temperature of 2.7ºC in relation to pre-industrial levels.

Should this happen, the study projects a climate catastrophe scenario, with a rise in temperature and change in rainfall patterns, among other impacts. For this reason, negotiations need to focus on even more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so that the increase in temperature is around 1.5ºC.

“COP26 is a credibility test for global efforts to tackle climate change. Our planet is changing before our eyes, from the depths of the ocean to the tops of mountains, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events,” said the Secretary General.

Also according to Guterres, it takes maximum ambition from all countries on all fronts to make Glasgow a success. “Let’s have no illusions: if commitments are insufficient by the end of this COP, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies. Not every five years. Every year. Until it is guaranteed to keep the temperature rise at 1.5°C”.

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