New Delhi: As the world population surged past eight billion people on Tuesday, UN Chief António Guterres called upon the G20 nations to support initiatives to address climate change, sustainable development, and the worldwide food and energy crises.
Saying that climate change is “the defining challenge of our age”, the UN Chief said, the G20, will be critical to determine if everyone gets to live on a peaceful and healthy planet.
As climate change is “the defining challenge of our age”, the Secretary-General reminded these countries that they produce 80 per cent of all global emissions.
Whether its food or water, batteries or gasoline, there will be less to go around as the global population adds another 2.4 billion people by the 2080s, according to U.N. projections.
Speaking to journalists in Bhali, where the G20 summit is taking place, he proposed creating a Climate Solidarity Pact, bringing together developed and emerging economies to combine resources and capacities to benefit everyone on the planet.
“G20 leaders can make or break the Climate Solidarity Pact that I intend to present again tomorrow. Under this pact, they would make extra efforts this decade to keep the limit of 1.5 degrees alive,” said Mr. Guterres, referring to the goal to cap global temperature rise.
Developing countries are also unable to access finance needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include reducing poverty and hunger and investing in healthcare and education.
“The SDGs are issuing an SOS,” he warned. “I therefore urge G20 economies to adopt an SDG stimulus package that will provide governments of the Global South with investments and liquidity, and offer debt relief and restructuring”.
Earlier, António Guterres reminded that “runaway inequality is a choice”, the UN chief put the onus on developed countries to use the ongoing UN COP27 climate conference in Egypt and the G20 summit in Bali next Tuesday, to make a switch.
“I hope COP27 will see a historic Climate Solidarity Pact under which developed and emerging economies unite around a common strategy and combine their capacities and resources for the benefit of humankind”, he said.
Guterres said “our only hope” lies in wealthier countries providing key emerging economies with financial and technical support to transition away from fossil fuels.
Talking about the world’s population is due to reach eight billion, described this as “a testament to scientific breakthroughs and improvements in nutrition, public health and sanitation”.
According to the UN, it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 to 8 billion, but will reach 9 billion in about 15 years, in 2037.
“As of this year, over half the world’s people live in Asia, with India and China making up most of the population in eastern and southeastern Asia, home to 2.3 billion people” it said.