UA week before the start of the 28th United Nations climate conference (COP28), Guterres said that intense action is needed in Dubai, where countries will address commitments to reduce gas emissions that are warming the planet.
“We are witnessing an acceleration that is absolutely devastating,” said the UN Secretary-General about the rate of melting ice in Antarctica, which he considered a “sleeping giant”.
“Antarctica is already waking up and the world has to wake up”, added the Portuguese, who is on an official three-day visit to the region, accompanied by Chilean President Gabriel Boric, which includes a visit to an air base on King George Island and by the Collins and Nelson glaciers.
Guterres said COP28 is an opportunity for nations “to decide to phase out fossil fuels within an appropriate time frame” in order to respect the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
I am alarmed by what is happening in Antarctica where the evidence overwhelmingly shows that there is an acceleration of melting of ice, which could be catastrophic to coastal communities everywhere.
What happens in Antarctica doesn’t stay in Antarctica. pic.twitter.com/VMJ5c7wmT9
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 24, 2023
The UN leader added that the summit is also an opportunity for nations to commit to more renewable energy projects and improve the energy efficiency of existing networks and technologies.
COP28 will take place between November 30th and December 12th in Dubai, at a time when, according to the United Nations, the planet is heading towards warming of 2.5°C to 2.9°C by the end of the century .
A UN report released on Monday warned of the need to halve estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 to prevent a rise in global temperatures above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that to prevent a 3°C rise in temperatures by the end of the century, all countries will have to reduce emissions far beyond current pledges, cutting 42% emissions by 2030.
A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change in October said that, due to rising temperatures, the melting of Antarctica is now “inevitable”, regardless of how much the world reduces emissions of planet-warming gases such as carbon dioxide.
The study’s lead author, Kaitlin Naughten, estimated that melting ice in the most at-risk areas of Antarctica could raise global sea levels by about 1.8 meters over the next few centuries.
Another study published in the journal Science Advances, also in October, revealed that almost 50 Antarctic ice shelves have shrunk by at least 30% since 1997 and 28 of them have lost more than half their ice in that same period.
Read Also: Guterres visits Antarctica to see the “deadly impact of the climate crisis”
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