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Humanity has “opened gates to hell” by letting climate crisis worsen

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres thinks that “Humanity has opened the gates to hell.” These statements were made at a high-level summit, the main topic of which was the climate crisis, according to CNN.

António Guterres said in his speech to open the Climate Ambition Summit, happening alongside the UN General Assembly in New York:

“Horrendous heat is having horrendous effects. Distraught farmers watching crops carried away by floods. Sweltering temperatures spawning disease. Climate action is dwarfed by the scale of the challenge. If nothing changes, we are heading towards a dangerous and unstable world.”

The climate conference comes as the world grapples with devastating floods and fires. It aims to build global momentum to reduce the planet’s pollution ahead of the UN COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December.

Guterres decided to limit the list of speakers to countries that are willing to send a high-level leader to speak and that he believes have clear and effective climate plans. Only 34 states and 7 non-governmental organisations from nearly 200 countries present at the General Assembly in New York were given the opportunity to address the UN chief’s summit.

Guterres says the goal of the summit is to increase the world’s ambition to fight climate change.

Selwyn Hart, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on climate change and just transition, said countries had “massively backtracked” on their commitments. He told CNN on Tuesday:

“The countries that committed to net-zero by 2050, and to the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement, they’re expanding fossil fuel licensing at a time when science tells us this is totally incompatible with this 1.5-degree goal”.

Guterres has called on developed countries to reach zero emissions – removing from the atmosphere as much of the planet’s pollutants as they produce – by 2040, at least a decade earlier than most current commitments.

He also asked for a timeline for phasing out fossil fuel emissions, as well as more financing to help low- and middle-income countries rapidly transition to clean energy and invest in climate change adaptation measures to better cope with increasingly severe extreme weather events. Guterres said:

“We are decades behind. We must make up time lost to foot-dragging, arm-twisting and the naked greed of entrenched interests raking in billions from fossil fuels.”

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