UN Secretary General António Guterres is known for using strong language when talking about climate change.
He recently described the modern world’s reliance on fossil fuels as “suicidal”.
But in his speech to world leaders gathered at the COP27 climate summit, it has gone a step further.
“We are on the road to climatic hell,” he said, “foot always on the accelerator”.
There’s a good reason the General Secretary uses shock tactics.
After a year of permanent crisis, climate change is slipping onto the agenda.
Sunak commits billions to climate fund – as the world has warned he is ‘on the road to hell’
There are few better examples of this than Rishi Sunakwho initially said he was not even planning to attend, citing other pressing commitments – despite the UK still holding the previous COP26 Presidency at the time.
He changed his mind after the appearance Boris Johnson was going, but the damage to the UK’s reputation as a climate leader has been done.
The problem is that a lack of political momentum, especially among large emitters, translates into a lack of the desperately needed acceleration of emissions reductions.
It’s the thing that will push 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming out of reach.
We are already warned that the world is seriously deviating from its course unless we do more.
But the other thing than a lack of will translates into a lack of money: money for developing countries to adapt to climate change, and money for developing countries can be compensated for the damage they have suffered of a crisis that they did little to provoke.
Money is the fault line that runs through every COP summit.
But in Sharm el-Sheikh, it turns into a gaping abyss.
For those who need more help, it is a matter of faith in the UN process, but it is also increasingly a matter of survival.
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