Climate Change

The biggest cost of climate change is the cost of doing nothing: António Guterres

Down To Earth brings you footage from the interview of Antonio Guterres by the Nation and CBS News as part of the COvering Climate Now media partnership

Published: Thursday 19 September 2019

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres believes that democratically elected governments around the world will act on climate change only if there is enough pressure from their citizens. In a video interview to Mark Phillips of CBS News and Mark Hertsgaard of The Nation, Guterres said governments across the world are being put under pressure by their citizens to take climate action.

“I see the whole of the society being more and more engaged in climate action, and what I want is the whole of the society putting pressure on the governments, to make governments understand that they need to run faster. Because we are losing the race,” the topmost official in the UN said.

Talking about the Paris agreement, Guterres said there was a commitment to mobilise $100 billion from private and public sources to support the needs of the developing world for both mitigation and adaptation. Without this support, he said, the impact can be devastating.

“I am very strongly in favour of the clarifications of the commitments made in Paris, to give to the developing world the guarantee that what was promised in Paris will be effectively delivered,” he said.

He suggested that one of the innovative ways of accruing this money is by reducing personal income tax while increasing the tax on carbon. The increasing number of extreme weather catastrophes, the resurgence of old diseases, climate change and air pollution killing seven million people every year; are all signs of nature hitting back, he said.

But Guterres also believes that more and more countries are taking climate action and that the emission levels will peak soon before showing a downward trend. “I think we are getting to the top and will start coming down soon,” he said.

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