UN Urges Humankind to “End War on Nature” for Planet’s Survival
This year has been one with extreme natural calamities including devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves. As the year nears its end, the head of the United Nations urged the global communities to make 2021 the year that human race ends its “war on nature” and to commit to a carbon-free tomorrow.
Recent climate reports have highlighted 2020’s record-breaking weather and growing fossil fuel extractions that prompt global warming. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the humankind to halt climate change and its triggering factors.
The appeal was marked with optimism but conveyed dire warnings, as the UN readies for a December 12 virtual climate summit in France, on the 5th anniversary of the momentous 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
The state of the planet is broken. Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back — and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are increasingly the new normal…Oceans are overfished and choking with plastic waste. The carbon dioxide they absorb is acidifying the seas. Coral reefs are bleached and dying.
Guterres said in a speech at Columbia University.
In a report, the World Meteorological Organization said this year will end 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the last half of the 1800s. Scientists have used this as a reference point for warming triggered by heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Most trapped heat goes into the world’s seas, and ocean temperatures are currently at record-breaking levels – which makes 2020 one of the three hottest years on record. The Paris Accord established a target of not surpassing 1.5 degree Celsius warming since pre-industrial times.
Guterres, however, is optimistic by the promises of over 100 countries that by mid-century they will not be contributing more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than trees and technology can eliminate, along with short-term pollution reductions. Moreover, China and US President-elect Biden have also pledged net-zero carbon emissions.
Guterres believes that 2021 can be a new kind of leap year – the year of a quantum leap toward carbon neutrality. He further added that the UN report reveals how evident the impending climate catastrophe is; he stresses the fact that when countries can spend trillions of dollars to recover from the coronavirus pandemic-triggered economic slowdown, they ought to do so in a way to emphasize clean energy.
The funding and subsidizing fossil fuels is another factor contributing to climate change, which nations must stop. And rich countries must fulfill their targets of the Paris Agreement to spend $100 billion yearly to help poorer countries develop cleaner energy.
Guterres stated that there is no way the world could curb climate change “without US leadership” and advised students and other Americans to do everything possible to get their governments to reduce emissions more effectively.
There will be conferences throughout the next year on preserving the world’s marine environments, sustainable transportation, food production systems, sustainable urban development, and ecosystem restoration. These will offer a “wealth of opportunities to stop the plunder and start the healing,” he said.
In September, 70 world leaders signed the “Leaders’ Pledge for Nature” and vowed to take steps to stop the disastrous human-made decline in wildlife species. According to the UN, a million species of plants and animals including Asian elephants, orangutans, and blue whales are now at risk of extinction.
There were three noteworthy exceptions among those who didn’t sign this accord – President Donald Trump, his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. However, their rejection didn’t come as a surprise. The trio has been unwilling to commit to stronger action on climate change as to their ignorant minds this phenomenon is a “hoax.” Even after witnessing the heart-wrenching devastation owing to the changing climatic patterns, these leaders have remained completely ignorant.
Well, the idiocy of some people could result in horrifying destruction. One can only hope that humankind understands the repercussions of its actions and work on mending its ways for the sake of the planet and all its inhabitants.