UN Secretary-General Condemns "War on Nature"
UN Secretary-Gerneral António Guterres has issued his bluntest warning yet about the world's environmental crisis. In a speech entitled "The State of the Planet," deliverd in early December at Columbia University, Guterres could not have been more emphatic:
“Humanity is waging a war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back—and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes…Air and water pollution are killing 9 million people annually—more than six times the current toll of the pandemic…
"2020 is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record globally – even with the cooling effect of this year’s La Nina. The past decade was the hottest in human history…Meanwhile, climate policies have yet to rise to the challenge…We are headed for a thundering temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century. The science is crystal clear: to limit temperature rise to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, the world needs to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly six percent every year between now and 2030. Instead, the world is going in the opposite direction—planning an annual increase of two percent.”
Saying that “making peace with nature” must become “the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere,” Guterres detailed an extensive course of action, calling on nations to embrace renewable energy as the world emerges from the pandemic. “We have a chance to not simply reset the world economy but to transform it. A sustainable economy driven by renewable energies will create new jobs, cleaner infrastructure and a resilient future.”
He stressed a number of positive recent steps, such as recent commitments by the European Union and China and then President-Elect Biden to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, the growing reach of environmental laws worldwide, and, in particular, the inspiring pre-Covid climate protests by young people worldwide.
“COVID and climate have brought us to a threshold. We cannot go back to the old normal of inequality, injustice and heedless dominion over the Earth.”
As far as we can determine, neither the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, nor the Washington Post reported on this important speech. It was on CNN, however.
Climate Action: It’s Time to Make Peace with Nature, UN Chief Urges