FILE PHOTO - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., November 20, 2020. REUTERS-Eduardo Munoz-File Photo

The United Nations (UN) has urged world leaders to declare a state of “climate emergency” in their countries to avoid “catastrophic” global warming.

This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his opening remarks to the Climate Ambition Summit, a virtual gathering ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Mr. Guterres warned that if the global community does not change course, the globe may be headed towards a “catastrophic” temperature increase of more than 3C (5.4F) this century.

“That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.” he said.

He said G20 nations – responsible for the bulk of carbon pollution – were spending 50 percent on sectors linked to fossil fuels than to low-carbon energy.

Dozens of world leaders spoke at the virtual conference – from the smallest nation’s worst-hit by climate change to the world’s worst polluters.

The online summit was to keep pressure on member nations to make carbon reduction plans, after last month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) climate talks were postponed because of the pandemic.

World leaders renewed their commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. President Xi Jinping pledged to increase China’s existing wind and solar capacity. He’s already said China will be net zero by 2060.

Pakistan said it would end construction of new coal power plants and Canada announced an increase in carbon tax.

The Pope pledged that Vatican City aims to be net zero by 2050.

“Every country, city, financial institution and company needs to adapt plans to reach zero emissions by 2050, and start executing them now, including by providing clear short-term targets,” the Secretary-General added.

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