Dec 2, 2019
Remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations at the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25).
“The decisions we make here will ultimately define whether we choose a path of hope, or a path of surrender. Remember: we made a commitment to the people of the world through the Paris Agreement. It was a solemn promise. Let us open our ears to the multitudes who are demanding change. Let us open our eyes to the imminent threat facing us all. Let us open our minds to the unanimity of the science. There is no time and no reason to delay. We have the tools, we have the science, we have the resources. Let us show we also have the political will that people demand from us. To do anything less will be a betrayal of our entire human family and all the generations to come.” (Extract)
Read full remarks: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/s… COP25 website: https://unfccc.int/cop25 ___________
Speaking at the opening of the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Madrid, Secretary-General António Guterres today (2 Dec) said the world stands “at a critical juncture” in its collective efforts to limit dangerous global warming.
The Secretary-General said, “by the end of the coming decade we will be on one of two paths. One is the path of surrender, where we have sleepwalked past the point of no return, jeopardizing the health and safety of everyone on this planet,” or a “path of hope. A path of resolve, of sustainable solutions. A path where more fossil fuels remain where they should be – in the ground – and where we are on the way to carbon neutrality by 2050.”
He asked, “do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand, that fiddled while the planet burned?”
Guterres said, “millions throughout the world – especially young people – are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more, to address the climate emergency we face. They know we need to get on the right path today, not tomorrow. That means important decisions must be made now, and COP25 is our opportunity.”
He said, “incremental steps” taken so far are “nowhere near the scope and scale required,” and added that “what we need is not an incremental approach, but a transformational one.”
The Secretary-General said, “we need a rapid and deep change in how we do business, how we generate power, how we build cities, how we move, and how we feed the world.”
He stressed that “if we don’t urgently change our way of life, we jeopardize life itself.”
Guterres outlined the work programme for the two-week event covering multiple aspects of the climate crisis, including capacity-building, deforestation, indigenous peoples, cities, finance, technology, and gender.
COP25 marks the beginning of a 12-month process to review countries’ “Nationally Determined Contributions” or NDCs (the commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement) and ensure that they are ambitious enough to defeat the climate emergency.