UN chief says climate will drive world affairs in coming decade

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Climate action will increasingly drive world affairs in the coming decade, according to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

In a recent speech at the UN headquarters in New York City, New York, USA, Guterres said that the next 10 years will be “crucial for achieving a fair globalization, boosting economic growth and building peaceful societies”.

In his speech Guterres highlighted what he called the “vicious circle” of climate change with reference to the recent bushfires in Australia.

He said: “The smoke from Australia’s fires is now itself a literal vicious circle – circling the globe, releasing the equivalent of as much as six months of the country’s total carbon emissions in 2018. What happens in Australia doesn’t stay in Australia – and the same can be said about any part of the world.”

The UN chief was addressing a meeting of the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security, a group of countries led by Germany that joined together in 2018 with the aim of cooperating to develop solutions to address the impact of climate change on security policy and to raise public awareness about the issue.

Despite rising global temperatures and increasing evidence of the dire impact of climate change, many governments remain unresolved to deal with the issue.

In his speech the UN chief said that while 70 countries have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, including the European Union, “That number represents less than one fourth of global emissions.”

Guterres said he wanted to ensure that the next UN climate conference, set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, in November, was a success after the “disappointment” of COP25 in Madrid, Spain, which ended with little in the way of concrete action.

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