Acknowledging the role that youth needs to play in advancing climate action worldwide, he reminded the room of our common central objective: not to have more than 1.5 degrees of increasing temperature at the end of the century. The international community, and especially the scientific community, has been very clear that to reach this goal we absolutely need to have carbon neutrality by 2050.
For this, he called on nations worldwide to make four pivotal shifts:
The UN chief called for an emphasis to be placed on taxes on carbon emissions, known as carbon pricing, instead of being placed on salaries.
He stressed that taxpayer money should not be used to increase the frequency of hurricanes, the spread of drought and heatwaves, the melting of glaciers and the bleaching of corals.
Coal-based power is key according to UN-environments 2018 Emissions Gap Report: all plants currently in operation are committing the world to around 190 giga tonnes of CO2, and if all coal power plants currently under construction go into operation and run until the end of their technical lifetime, emissions will increase by another 150 giga tonnes, jeopardizing our ability to limit global warming by 2C as agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
It is very important that around the world young people, civil society and those that in the business community have understood that the green economy is the economy of the future and the grey economy has no future, said Mr. Guterres. Its very important that you convince governments that they must act because theres still a lot of resistance, he told the youth gathered in the room.
Governments are still afraid to move forward, he deplored explaining that they feel the costs of climate action forgetting that the costs of inaction are much bigger than any costs of climate action.
Nature does not negotiate, he added. Its very good to see youth in the frontline.
On 23 September, the UN chief is convening a Climate Change Summit to galvanize increased ambition for decisive climate action.
UN Photo/Mark GartenThe Secretary-General (right) attends a Mori and Pasifika climate and environmental change youth leaders event hosted by James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change of New Zealand, at Auckland War Memorial Museum. (13 May 2019)