World is losing battle to control carbon emissions: UN secretary general

Updated Feb 17 2020


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at the conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — INP
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at the conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — INP

ISLAMABAD: The world is losing the battle to control carbon emissions, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday, adding that people should invest in green energy because of the high dividends.

“Green economy is good economy. I have personally invested in the Green Fund and it is growing more as compared to my other investments. So green economy is growing faster than others as it is future of the world,” he said at a session on sustainable development and climate change in Islamabad.

Mr Guterres suggested focusing on solar energy as it is cost effective when compared to the production of energy through fossil fuel and also because the continued production of fossil fuel energy in the future would be a mistake.

“We are still losing the battle regarding controlling carbon emissions but I hope that we will win it in the near future. Currently the melting of glaciers is a huge problem but we can not address it unless we stop the global warming. Can you imagine that recently temperature inAntarcticareached 25°C,” he asked rhetorically.

Replying to a question regarding possible tension between Indian andPakistandue to water issues, Mr Guterres said that both countries can agree to use water collectively.

“It can help both countries to build confidence. Moreover there is an agreement between two countries regarding water and the World Bank is ensuring it,” he said.

He said like all developing countries,Pakistanhas contributed little to the problem yet faces disproportionate vulnerability because of it. In the past decade,Pakistanhas lost some 10,000 lives to climate-related disasters, including 1,200 due to a heatwave inKarachiin 2015, he said.

Referring to the risk of locusts emergency in the country, he said that global warming is leading to global swarming.

Mr Guterres said he believes the biggest problem forPakistanis water. Talking about the water situation in the country, he said thatPakistanis one of the 15 most water-stressed countries in the world.

He also congratulated Pakistan on becoming co-chair of the Green Climate Fund and said he welcomes initiatives like the Billion-Tree Tsunami and the government’s Clean and GreenPakistanmovement, adding that he was “extremely well-impressed” when he heard that the country had decided to abolish plastic bags in the capital.

Giving a stark warning about the climate emergency, he said: “We are in a battle for our lives. Our sustainable future is at stake.”

Mr Guterres also talked about sustainable development, saying he was pleased to note that “Pakistanhas embraced the sustainable development goals (SDGs) from the start.”

“Back in 2016,Pakistanwas among the first nations to integrate the SDGs into its national development agenda, and recognise them. In 2018,Pakistanlaunched the national SDG framework to prioritise and localise the goals throughout the country.”

Replying to a question regarding violation of human rights in India-held Kashmir, he said that the UN cares greatly about human rights and human rights should be respected inKashmir.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2020