World leaders descended on New York City in gas-guzzling SUVs this week for the latest round of United Nations climate meetings where they warned of the risks fossil fuels pose to humanity.
The U.N. hosted the Sustainable Development Goals Summit on Monday and Tuesday as a mid-point review of its 2030 sustainable agenda, and hosted its Climate Ambition Summit one day later on Wednesday to establish “credible, serious and new climate action.” The two summits are the latest in a long line of international meetings the U.N. has hosted that are designed to solve global warming.
“Our focus here is on climate solutions — and our task is urgent. Humanity has opened the gates of hell,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his opening remarks Wednesday. “Horrendous heat is having horrendous effects. Distraught farmers watching crops carried away by floods; sweltering temperatures spawning disease; And thousands fleeing in fear as historic fires rage. Climate action is dwarfed by the scale of the challenge.”
“The move from fossil fuels to renewables is happening — but we are decades behind,” he continued. “We must make up time lost to foot-dragging, arm-twisting and the naked greed of entrenched interests raking in billions from fossil fuels.”
On Tuesday, President Biden delivered remarks at the U.N. meetings, where he similarly warned about “climate change and fragility.” He called on leaders to transition from traditional fossil fuels to green energy and pointed to natural disasters as evidence of climate change.
“Together, these snapshots tell an urgent story of what awaits us if we fail to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and begin to climate-proof the world,” the president remarked. “For one day — for one day [from day one], my administration, the United States, has treated this crisis as an existential threat from the moment we took office not only for us but for all of humanity.”
“We need more investment from the public and private sector alike, especially in places that have contributed so little to global emissions but face some of the worst effects of climate change,” he added.