UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres kicked off a summit Monday telling the audience that “climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win."
His remarks were made during the Climate Action Summit at UN headquarters in New York which is hosting leaders from government, business, and civil society.
Guterres spoke about his recent tour of countries, including Mozambique and Bahamas which are experiencing the effects of climate change.
"Make no mistake, when we see those images, we are not just seeing damage," said Guterres. "We are seeing the future if we do not act now."
"And young people – above all, young people – are here providing solutions, insisting on accountability, demanding urgent action. They are right," he said.
The UN estimates the world would need to increase its efforts between three- and five-fold to contain climate change to the levels dictated by science – a 1.5°C rise at most – to avoid escalating climate damage.
"My generation has failed in the responsibility to protect our planet. That must change," said the UN chief.
Climate change is "caused by us" and the solutions must "come from us," he said.
"We have the tools, technology is on our side. The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win," he added.
By Servet Gunerigok in Washington