As Climate Talks Stall, UN Chief Presses World Leaders to Take Action
"If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change," Guterres said.
Guterres' speech came a day after climate talks concluded in Bangkok without producing a draft of rules that could be presented at the next round of UN climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland in December, which will be dedicated to the implementation of the Paris agreement, The Associated Press reported.
"We cannot allow Katowice to remind us of Copenhagen," Guterres said, referring to climate talks there that fell apart in 2009, BBC News reported.
The major disagreements at the Bangkok talks revolved around how developing countries would finance and report their Paris commitments.
Developed countries are supposed to provide funds to assist developing countries, but ActionAid International Climate Policy Manager Harjeet Singh told The Associated Press that countries like the U.S., Japan, Australia and the EU declined to say "how much money they are going to provide and how that is going to be counted."
Other delegates expressed frustration with the role of the U.S. in negotiations, saying the country undermined the process despite President Donald Trump's announcement that he would pull the U.S. from being impacted by the final agreement.
"The U.S. has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement but still negotiates as if it is a Party, weakening international cooperation by not contributing to finance and technology transfer to developing countries," Third World Network legal adviser Meena Raman told The Associated Press in an email.
Guterres did not refer to Trump by name in his remarks Monday, but called on global leaders generally to meet their Paris targets, The New York Times reported.
Few countries are close to meeting those targets, and the UN has found that existing targets would only get the world one-third of the way towards limiting warming "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
"The time has come for our leaders to show they care about the people whose fate they hold in their hands," Guterres said, according to The New York Times. "We need to rapidly shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels."
Guterres dismissed the idea that doing so was too expensive, saying that renewable energy was now competitive with oil and coal and that meeting the Paris goals would boost the economy overall, BBC News reported.
"For every dollar spent restoring degraded forests, as much as $30 can be recouped in economic benefits and poverty reduction," Guterres said, according to BBC News.
Guterres urged world leaders as well as city and business leaders to join him in September 2019 for a climate change forum, The New York Times reported.
The inclusion of city and industry is designed to put pressure on national governments, The New York Times surmised.
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By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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