UN Chief Urges G20 to End Fossil Fuel Funding Amid Rising Global Warming Crisis


Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, appealed to the Group of 20, comprising the foremost economic powers accountable for over 80 per cent of global warming emissions, to adopt a firm stance on climate change during their weekend summit. He called for an end to all licensing and funding for new fossil fuel exploits, zealously maintaining his insistence on the “1.5-degree goal.”

The goal is rooted in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that sought to limit global atmospheric warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compelling countries to strive to stave off such drastic long-term warming effects.

Earlier in the year, the U.N. had warned of a significant probability, two-in-three chances, of the planet reaching this critical warming limit within the next half-decade. July of 2023 is also now recognized as the Earth’s hottest recorded month, exceeding all previous ones by a significant margin.

The conclusion of the climate ministers’ last meeting of the year recorded unresolved dissent on climate strategies. Quoting Guterres, “The climate crisis is worsening dramatically — but the collective response is lacking in ambition, credibility, and urgency.”

India, hosting the G20 summit, highlighted the development of alternative fuels, resource efficiency, and reforming bodies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. These priorities aim to make funds more accessible to lower- and middle-income nations fighting climate change.

Emphasizing the communal responsibility, Guterres encouraged bigger emitters to make further reductions and wealthier nations to fulfill their climate finance commitments, painting a bleak picture of the discord currently observed amongst nations. He stressed the dire consequences of disunity in these trying times.

As the summit commenced over the weekend, Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine threatened to overshadow the discussions, with its implications on food and energy security looming large.

Guterres reminded leaders of the urgent need for unity and cooperation, cautioning that divisions, tensions, and dwindling trust were pushing the world towards fragmentation, confrontation and potential disaster.

A UN technical report released on the same day assessed the current standing of various nations in their efforts to curb carbon emissions. Findings revealed a discordance between global emissions and climate goals, with a shrinking window for enhanced ambition and execution of existing commitments to contain warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In a bid to mitigate the bleak prospect, Guterres implored nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, while projecting the same goal for emerging economies by 2050.

Energy analysts emphasized the urgency for G20 leaders to heed the U.N. chief’s recommendations. Madhura Joshi, an energy analyst at climate think tank E3G, underlined the crucial necessity for leaders to convene an ambitious and equitable global action agenda this decade. “In the midst of raging climate impacts, the world needs G20 leaders to move beyond their differences and agree to an ambitious and equitable agenda of action this decade,” she asserted.


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