COP 27: UN chief says planet on a 'highway to climate hell'
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has opened the COP27 climate summit, telling delegates the planet is now “dangerously close to the point of no return”.
World leaders are gathering in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, looking to build on the agreement reached in Glasgow twelve months ago.
Gutteres said the goal of limiting warming to just 1.5C above pre-industrial levels was now on “life support”.
He said: “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate change irreversible.
“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”
Gutteres said the international community could not allow events such as the war in Ukraine to distract from the challenge of tackling the climate crisis.
He added: “We cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change. Climate change is on a different timeline and a different scale. It is the defining issue of our age – it is the central challenge of our century. It is unacceptable, outrageous and self-defeating to put it on the back burner.”
Earlier, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged world leaders to build on the progress made at COP26, telling a fringe event he was the “spirit of Glasgow”.