The leader of the United Nations addresses the public from Antarctica in anticipation of the upcoming Global Climate Summit.
Before the international climate talks, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, traveled to Antarctica, a globally significant location, to witness the melting of ice that has been frozen for millions of years due to human-induced climate change. He emphasized the urgency of taking immediate action by stating, “It is imperative that we act without delay.”
“The effects of Antarctica’s changes are not limited to the continent itself,” stated Guterres. The vast ice and frigid waters of Antarctica play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate by reflecting a significant amount of sunlight. However, when there is a substantial melting of ice, it can result in rising sea levels and alter elements such as salinity and marine life habitats.
At the yearly meeting of countries known as COP, the goal is to come together and make stronger commitments to combatting climate change. However, these efforts have not been sufficient in reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.
Guterres is on a three-day official visit to the southern continent. Chilean President Gabriel Boric joined him for an official visit to Chile’s Eduardo Frei Air Force Base on King George Island. Scientists and members of the Chilean military gathered with Guterres aboard a ship where they viewed glaciers and sea birds, including penguins.
Guterres stated that COP28, starting next week in Dubai, presents a chance for countries to determine a suitable timeline for the elimination of fossil fuels in order to prevent the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels. This has been identified by scientists as a crucial threshold that could have prevented severe climate change for millions of individuals. However, previous conferences have not incorporated this phase-out into their agreements, likely due to the considerable influence of fossil fuel corporations and nations.
Guterres stated that the COP28 conference presents an opportunity for countries to pledge to further renewable energy initiatives and enhance the efficiency of current electricity grids and technologies.
Sultan al-Jaber, the leader of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., is in charge of this year’s discussions. The U.N. leader stated that his connections to the industry give him a greater duty to urge the fossil fuel sector to increase their investments in renewable energy.
Guterres stated that it is crucial for him to communicate with those accountable in the fossil fuel industry, specifically the oil and gas sector which is earning excessive profits globally. He emphasized the urgency of utilizing these profits rather than continuing to invest in fossil fuels.
Pope Francis will also be the first pontiff to attend the U.N. climate conference, and Guterres said he was “very hopeful” that the pope’s presence would convey to political leaders that “it is a moral imperative to put climate action as an absolute priority and to do everything that is necessary to move from the suicidal trajectory that we are having today.”