UN chief urges region to lead fight against climate change
UN Secretary General António Guterres has called on countries in the Southeast Asian region to be at the front line in stopping the use of coal power which has been largely responsible for climate change.
He said the world’s addiction to coal “remains a major threat in relation to climate change and one of the messages in the summit will be very clearly that countries in these areas that are countries that are in one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change.”
Speaking at a press conference in Bangkok on Saturday the UN chief quoted a recently published report as saying that climate change was causing ocean levels to rise much faster than previously forecast.
“According to this new report, unless we are able to…defeat climate change, in 2050, the research has forecasted that 300 million people will be flooded by sea water in the world,” Guterres stated, and called climate change “the biggest threat to the planet at the present moment, [and] the defining issue of our time”.
Pledging his commitment to raising global attention on the need “to abide by what scientists tell us is necessary to do”, he argued that that “we need to contain the rising temperatures 1.5 degrees until the end of the century” and “to be carbon neutral in 2050 and reduce the emissions by 45 per cent in the next decade”.
“We have to put a price on carbon”, he continued. “We need to stop subsidies for fossil fuels and…the creation of new power plants based on coal in the future”.
He also maintained that South East Asian nations must set an example, “to be in the front line of carbon pricing, of stopping subsidies to fossil fuels, and of stopping the construction of coal power electricity plants in order to be able to defeat climate change and to preserve the beautiful cities like Bangkok and others that we want as a legacy to humankind forever”.
While in Bangkok, Guterres also visited a climate mitigation project in Bangkok’s new Centenary Park. He later tweeted his impression of the visit. “Deeply impressed by the innovative project at Bangkok Centenary Park to mitigate floods by absorbing millions of gallons of rain water in this vulnerable city. Climate action is a global issue but cities should play a critical part,” he said.