WorldGuterres: Combating climate change is a vital interest of...

Guterres: Combating climate change is a vital interest of all humanity and all countries must make it a priority

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In a new episode of the Global Conference programme, euronews met with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, at an oceanic conference in Portugal. The interview focused on the issue of combating climate change, which has not been on the international agenda since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is the text of the interview:

euronews: At a time when the fight against climate change in Ukraine is losing momentum, the UN is holding a conference on the oceans in Lisbon, where we met with Secretary General Antonio Guterres and my first question: How can we resume the fight against climate change? the international agenda?

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: To achieve this, doing everything possible and emphasizing the problem on all fronts as much as possible. And if we look at the war in Ukraine, it underlines the importance of investing in renewable energy over the last few decades. If we had invested heavily, we would not be at the mercy of the exorbitantly priced fossil fuel industry undermining the quality of human life and undermining conditions in many developing countries. If the war in Ukraine shows anything, it is that we must accelerate the green transition, which means that we must fight climate change more effectively.

euronews: But we see world leaders reinvesting in fossil fuels. How can we persuade them (away from it)?

Antonio Guterres: This is suicide and I hope people understand that suicide is not the best way forward.

euronews: At the same time, ordinary people who suffer from food and energy problems are hard to persuade to prioritize tackling climate change. How can you do that?

Antonio Guterres: First of all, we must try to solve the problem, namely food security. That is why we are trying to create conditions to allow both Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizer products to enter world markets, to improve the situation and contain price increases. I think there are other initiatives related to energy prices. But in this case, especially with the rising prices of fossil fuels, there is clearly a good reason to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This is in everyone’s interest. It is in everyone’s interest to continue to fight climate change, as this is the only way to avoid similar situations in the future, with a dramatic dependence on volatile fossil fuel markets.

euronews: We see that the seas and oceans are also used as weapons, just like the Black Sea. And we’ve seen some conversations here about putting mines in the ocean. How do you see it?

Antonio Guterres: Access to Ukrainian ports is exactly the UN plan, which was presented to the Russians and Ukrainians with the support of Turkey. That is why we have been in close contact with the EU, the US and Russia to also obtain a package that includes access to world markets for food and fertilizer products from Ukraine and Russia. We hope that it will soon be possible to hold a meeting with the four parties (EU, Russia, Ukraine + Turkey) in Istanbul, based on several consultations held, specifically at the bilateral level (Russia-Ukraine). By the military forces of these three countries and we hope that an agreement has been reached on the export of Ukrainian grain.

At the same time, we expect countries to facilitate Russia’s food and fertilizer exports as there are no sanctions on food and fertilizer, but complications in transportation, insurance and payments need to be addressed. That is why we have been in close contact with the EU, the US and Russia to also reach a comprehensive agreement that includes access to Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer products on world markets.

euronews: Russia is a major player in this fight, can it return to the scene to help the world fight climate change?

Antonio Guterres: Russia is here for the Ocean Conference. I believe that the fight against climate change is a vital interest of all humanity. Therefore, all countries should consider this as their priority.

euronews: Here at this event, I apologize to the young people because their generation contributed to this situation.

Antonio Guterres: My generation is responsible for the fact that we are at war with nature, we have climate change and the situation is out of control. We need to reduce emissions during these decades.

My generation is responsible for the fact that we are at war with nature, we have climate change and the situation is out of control. We need to reduce emissions during these decades.

In Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General

Forecasts based on current commitments from member states around the world still represent an increase in emissions in 2030, which is suicidal and completely unacceptable.

As for the oceans, we are still losing the fight to preserve our oceans. In terms of global warming and acidity caused by climate change, loss of coral reefs, loss of biodiversity, overfishing, plastic pollution and other forms of toxins. Many coastal areas are completely devoid of life. We are still losing the gamble to save the oceans and we need to change that.

My generation was really unable or unwilling to reveal the truth when it came to saying that the situation was out of control.

euronews: Are you optimistic that in the near future world leaders will see the need for action?

Antonio Guterres: Again, this is not about optimism or pessimism. I am determined to do everything possible to become a world leader in politics, but also in the economic sector… We must not forget that the fossil fuel industry has spent billions and billions of years on pseudoscience, public relations and all kinds of lobbying to convince the world that climate change has not been so severe and that fossil fuels have not created the problems that exist, as the tobacco industry did a few decades ago. Therefore, economic leaders also have a great responsibility. And all of them, from political leaders to economic leaders, must realize that we are in a state of emergency and that this state of emergency requires firm action.

euronews: Thank you so much.

Source: EuroNews

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