At the start of the high-level COP27 Climate Implementation Summit on Monday, the UN Secretary General strongly urged developed and emerging countries to form a Climate Solidarity Pact to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree target.
Antonio Guterres said that humanity has a choice to either engage in a 'climate solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact' in his address to world leaders.
'Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a climate solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact,' he warned, adding that real progress is also needed on adaptation as about three billion people live in countries highly vulnerable to climate impacts.
He cautioned that due to the ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating impacts of climate change, the goal of limiting global temperature rise by 1.5 degrees is 'on life support and the machines are rattling.'
The World Leaders Summit at the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, will see world leaders take to the podium to deliver their national statements.
During his opening remarks, Guterres emphasized that the solution to climate change is in the hands of the leaders here, who will have to account to the 8 billionth member of the planet's population, who will be born in just days, for what they did for the world when they had the opportunity.
'This milestone puts into perspective what this climate conference is all about,' he said.
He warned that greenhouse gas emissions are still growing and global temperatures are rising, as the plant is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.
'We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. 'Climate change is the defining issue of our age, and many of today's conflicts are linked with growing climate chaos,' he said.
'Today's urgent crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding or greenwashing,' he added.
- G20 countries need to accelerate transition 'now'
Guterres blamed human activity for the climate problem and said that it is human action that must offer the solution.
He suggested that as the 1.5 degree goal is 'on life support and the machines are rattling,' hopes of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees are needed to lead the way to global net zero emissions by 2050.
'We are getting dangerously close to the point of no return,' he stressed.
Guterres urged the G20 countries to accelerate the transition 'now - in this decade,' emphasizing the importance of developed countries taking the lead. He also called on emerging economies to do their part in bending the global emissions curve.
'At the beginning of COP27, I am calling for a historic pact between developed and emerging economies, a Climate Solidarity Pact. A pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal,' he said.
Guterres stated that the world's two largest economies, the US and China, bear a special responsibility to work together to make the pact a reality, as the loss and damage from the deadly impacts of climate change increase and can no longer be swept under the rug.
'It is a moral imperative. It is a fundamental question of international solidarity and climate justice. Those who contributed least to the climate crisis are reaping the whirlwind sown by others. It is why I am asking that all governments tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies,' he said.
'We need all hands on deck for faster, bolder climate action. A window of opportunity remains open, but only a narrow shaft of light remains. So let's fight together– and let's win. For the 8 billion members of our human family and for generations to come,' Guterres concluded.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt