UN chief calls for bolder action to curb climate change



UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for more action and bolder ambition to fight climate change.

He made the appeal before a trip to Bonn, Germany, for this year's UN climate conference, which he said comes at a pivotal moment.

In recent weeks, a series of reports have set climate alarm bells ringing, said Guterres.

The latest data released by the World Meteorological Organization showed dangerous growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past seven decades, reaching new highs in 2016.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now the highest in 800,000 years.

A report of the UN Environment Program shows that greenhouse gas levels in 2020 are likely to be so elevated that it will be extremely difficult to meet the Paris reduction targets for 2030. It also points out that it is extremely likely that human activities are the dominant cause.

"These reports send two clear messages: we need to accelerate climate action and we need to raise ambition," he told reporters here at UN Headquarters.

Guterres asked to further cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

To that end, carbon pricing is an important instrument that must be developed, he said. "The window of opportunity to meet the 2-degree target may close in 20 years or less -- and we may have only five years to bend the emissions curve towards 1.5 degrees."

He called for funds for developing countries. "We need to mobilize the agreed 100 U.S. billion dollars annually for developing countries. This is crucial to spur action and to build trust. We are far from having that entirely guaranteed."

Guterres said he would convene a climate summit in September 2019 "to mobilize political and economic energy at the highest levels."