Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted an informal climate leaders roundtable on climate action behind closed doors with a small cross-section of heads of state and government.
The roundtable “will be an opportunity for national leaders to show solidarity and ambition to keep the global temperature target of 1.5 ° C within reach,” the UN said.
Speaking to reporters here after the roundtable, Guterres said based on current commitments from member states, the world is on a “catastrophic path” towards 2.7 degrees of warming.
“Science tells us that anything above 1.5 degrees would be a disaster. To limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, we need a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 so that we can achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century, ”he said.
The UN chief said that if developed countries are to take the lead in their nationally determined contributions, it is also essential that several emerging economies go the extra mile and effectively contribute to reducing emissions.
Guterres added that he believes there is still a long way to go when it comes to reducing emissions. G20 countries represent 80% of emissions. He said it would make no sense if developed countries that already pledged to net zero in 2015 say they have done their job on climate action and it is now up to developing countries, in especially for emerging economies, to do their part.
Guterres added that it would also not make sense for emerging economies to say that developed countries have polluted more in the past and that they have a greater responsibility to reduce emissions.
“I mean these arguments are no longer valid. Everyone must do their job. Developed countries and emerging economies must be able to contribute – all – to the possibility of reaching net zero in 2050 and a very strong reduction in emissions in 2030. And we are not there yet.
“And I hope that the contacts that are established by different countries, the United States and China but also with India, with Europe and with various other key partners will allow all these countries to understand that they must do the maximum without waiting for what others are doing, “he said.
China, the United States, India, the EU and Russia are among the largest emitters of carbon in the world.
Guterres said the bottom line is that “we need decisive action now around net zero commitments from all countries and the private sector.”
Addressing the specific energy challenge, the UN chief said governments must abandon fossil fuel subsidies and phase out the use of coal.
“If all the planned coal plants become operational, we will not only be clearly above 1.5 degrees – we will be well above 2 degrees. The Paris targets would go up in smoke,” he said. declared.
While a 45% reduction in emissions is needed by 2030 to limit the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees, Guterres lamented that the commitments made by countries to date imply a 16% increase in emissions of greenhouse gases in 2030 compared to 2010 levels.
“This means that unless we collectively change course, the risk of failure of COP26 is high,” he said. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference is scheduled to be held in Glasgow later this year.
Guterres said he called on leaders to do what is necessary to make COP26 a success and mark a turning point.
Ahead of COP26, the international community must act on three fronts, he said, adding: “First, keep the 1.5 degree target within reach. Second, deliver on the $ 100 billion pledged per year for climate action in developing countries. Third, by increasing adaptation finance to at least 50% of total public climate finance. “