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UN secretary-general calls for Climate Solidarity Pact at COP27

Participants walk outside of the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre before the COP27 climate summit opening in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt November 7, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

The COP27 Summit in Egypt has started off with a call by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres for parties to agree to a Climate Solidarity Pact to end dependence on fossil fuels and the building of coal-fired power plants.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is urging countries to work together to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe.

This call was made at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt, a conference held among global stakeholders to recognise the gravity of the global climate challenge and discuss multilateral, collective and concerted action to address the global threat.

The UN leader’s speech set an urgent tone as governments sit down for two weeks of talks on how to avert the worst of climate change, amid the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine that has caused consumer inflation and energy shortages.

He called for a pact between the world's richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and funding to ensure poorer countries can reduce emissions and cope with the climate impacts that have already occurred.

“That is why at the beginning of COP27, I am calling for a historic Pact between developed and emerging economies – a Climate Solidarity Pact. A Pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal. A Pact in which wealthier countries and International Financial Institutions provide financial and technical assistance to help emerging economies speed their own renewable energy transition.”

With this COP being the 27th, he notes progress has been insufficient to save the planet from excessive warming as countries are too slow or reluctant to act.

“The two largest economies – the United States and China – have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this Pact a reality. This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals. Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact."

Signatories to the 2015 Paris climate agreement had pledged to achieve a long-term goal of keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the threshold at which scientists say climate change risks spinning out of control.

Guterres said that goal will only stay alive if the world can achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan attend the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt November 7, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

The UAE will host next year's U.N. conference, which will attempt to finalise agreements made last year in Britain and at this year's Egyptian talks.

Immediately after Guterres' speech, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahya took the stage and said his country, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, would continue to produce fossil fuels for as long as there is a need.

"The UAE is considered a responsible supplier of energy and it will continue playing this role as long as the world is in need of oil and gas,"


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