By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 22, 2021 (NAN) UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed important commitments to climate action by the world’s two largest economies – U.S. and China – just as the UN General Debate of the 76th session of the General Assembly began in New York.
The world’s two largest economies – U.S. and China made commitments to the annual gathering of world leaders.
Guterres hailed U.S. President Jose Biden’s announcement that his country would increase its international climate finance significantly to approximately $11.4 billion a year.
“This increased contribution from the United States will bring developed countries closer to meeting their collective commitment to mobilising $100 billion dollars a year in climate finance,’’ said the UN chief, in a statement.
Guterres also welcomed the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping that China would end all financing of coal-fired power plants abroad and redirect its support to green and low carbon energy.
“Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach,” he said.
While the announcements were most welcome, the top UN official flagged that there was still “a long way to go” to make next month’s UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow a success that would ensure “a turning point in our collective efforts to address the climate crisis”.
He reminded the assembly that based on member states’ current emission reduction commitments, “the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7 degrees of heating”.
The secretary-general, therefore, called for “decisive action by all countries”, especially the G20 leading industrialised nations, to “go the extra mile” and effectively contribute to emission reductions.
“All countries must bring their highest level of ambition to Glasgow if we are to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach,” he said.