The world is facing a new pandemic, the first in more than a decade, and the world needs to make big changes, said UN secretary general Antonio Guterres during a speech at the United Nations.
Guterres said it was important to “make the most of the current opportunity” and focus on the importance of climate change.
He said he had made the world’s largest climate change investment in the last decade, but he was not ready to talk about it.
“There are many steps that need to be taken, but the priority of the UN is to ensure that all countries take decisive action to tackle the challenges we are facing,” Guterre said.
“We cannot continue on the trajectory of increasing our emissions without tackling the biggest challenge we face in our lifetimes: climate change.”
Guterre also called for the United States to be at the forefront of efforts to combat the threat of global warming, saying it was vital that the US remain the global leader in fighting climate change and ensuring the safety and security of the people of the world.
Gus Otero, a senior advisor to Guterrres, told reporters that it was “very encouraging” to see the secretary general’s commitment to addressing the global climate crisis.
“But it is also important that we do this in a way that is transparent, and that also serves the global interest,” he said.
Otero said Guterrez was the first secretary-general to acknowledge the role of the US in addressing climate change, and called on him to commit to more investments in reducing emissions.
The UN chief said climate change would not be a problem for the US if it was not a threat to the survival of the human race, and urged the US to commit $1 trillion to fight the pandemic.
Ozero said it is vital that nations and people understand the urgency of the threat and its consequences, and take decisive actions to mitigate the impacts of the pandemics.
“That is why it is crucial that the global community is united, united in our efforts to make a difference,” he added.