For 50 years, governments have failed to act on climate change. No more excuses | Christiana Figueres, Evo de Boer and Michael Zammit Cutajar

aAt the end of February this year, the governments of the world signed a statement that was astonishing in its power and clarity. “Cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change poses a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet.” The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Any further delay in proactive, coordinated global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a short and rapidly closing opportunity to secure a viable and sustainable future for all.”

You might think that political leaders can have no higher priority than securing a “livable and sustainable future.” Is this not what we all need and want, in every country, for ourselves and for future generations? It is true that other issues are of great concern in many societies: governments around the world are tackling poverty and hunger, war and civil conflict, the rising cost of food and energy, health systems and economies hit by COVID-19.

But as three former UN climate chiefs, let us be clear: As the world’s first major environment summit – the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment – recognized, crises in security, health, development and the environment are linked. They stress stress, especially in the most fragile and conflict-ridden parts of the world. The countless reports of extreme weather we witnessed in 2022 suggest there is no time to lose.

As climate change progresses further, we lock up a future characterized by more devastating crops and more food insecurity along with a host of other problems including sea level rise, threats to water security, drought and desertification. Governments must act against climate change while also dealing with other urgent crises. We summon the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Motley Words in Cop26: “Today’s leaders – not 2030, not 2050 – should make that choice.”

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Certified 30 years ago. In our time when he presided over his secretariat, we have seen commitments and pledges that have not been fully honoured. While developed countries have accepted the principle of fairness enshrined in the agreement and thus their responsibility to lead climate action, they have performed disappointingly, not least in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and in mobilizing financial support for developing countries that need it.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, all governments agreed to “continue efforts” to limit global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F). We are now entitled to ask where their efforts have reached, where they are heading, and how sincere they are. Science shows that working in this decade to reduce all greenhouse gases is critical. But the sum of the policies in place now will take us to a hotter world by 2.7°C and potentially disastrous 3.6°C above pre-industrial levels.

If science doesn’t convince most governments to act, perhaps economics will. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides clear evidence That societies would be more prosperous in a world where climate change is constrained, compared to a world left to smolder. In the energy sector, there is evidence of a zero-carbon transition all around us. Wind and solar power generation Shows compound growth of about 20% per year And it’s cheaper almost everywhere than the alternatives. Electric vehicle sales doubled between 2020 and 2021.

Unless someone is investing in fossil fuels, there is now no reason not to take the clean energy path. Many corporate actors recognize the need for early action on this front. But governments still need to stimulate the transition. Development Just Energy Transition Packages So far, it may provide an investment pathway that can accelerate diffusion in emerging and developing countries. Companies should also be encouraged to work toward other goals such as reducing methane emissions.

If the science of economics is to give us hope of speeding up action despite the host of other issues that threaten our age, so should history. Fifty years ago, the international community faced a similar set of problems: natural resource depletion, desertification, the legacy of atomic bomb testing, mercury contamination, and Cold War proxy conflicts. Political geography divided the world. So far in 1972 conference on human environment In Stockholm, leaders agreed to cooperate on the threats they jointly face.

Now, with geopolitics turning tepid due to great power disagreements and with nations bleeding from Covid and conflict, the peoples of the world once again need their leaders to work together. Governments have acknowledged that their window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change is closing and have recognized the risks that failure will bring. Rapid economic changes mean that a climate-safe future is also a more prosperous one. The will of the public – especially among young people Seeing climate change restricted is obvious.

We also remember the Stockholm Conference about it 50th Anniversary This week, we need national leaders to remember what you showed about the potential for collaborative action even in turbulent times. We need to see leaders deliver on their promises on climate change, for the benefit of people, prosperity and the planet.