UN chief announces 2023 climate initiative

Invitation is open but the price of entry is non-negotiable, says Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during the 2022 year-end press conference at the UN headquarters in New York. AFP
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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced on Monday that he will convene a “no-nonsense” climate summit next year, as the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5ºC appears to be on its last legs.

Speaking at his year-end news conference, Mr Guterres said the aim of keeping temperatures below that critical threshold is “gasping for breath” and warned the world is still moving in the “wrong direction”.

He said he wants to challenge leaders to step up and provide new, tangible and credible climate action.

Increasingly outspoken about the climate emergency, the UN chief said he cannot accept things as they are.

“I will keep pushing for a Climate Solidarity Pact, in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5ºC goal and ensure support for those who need it,” he said.

“The invitation is open. But the price of entry is non-negotiable — credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions that will move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis.

“It will be a no-nonsense summit.”

On Ukraine, Mr Guterres said he is not optimistic about the possibility of effective peace talks in the near future.

“I do believe that the military confrontation will go on … I don't see [talks] in the immediate horizon,” he said.

He added, however, that the UN will continue to work to remove obstacles to wheat exports and Russian fertilisers.

On Iran, he said Tehran's reaction to the widespread demonstrations in the country has been totally unacceptable.

At least 14,000 protesters have reportedly been detained in Iran's crackdown on demonstrations that followed the death of a young woman in morality police custody. US-based group Human Rights Activists in Iran said that about 500 people — both demonstrators and security forces — have been killed so far.

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Updated: December 19, 2022, 5:46 PM