The United Nations head wants global leaders to “use the pandemic recovery” to create a more sustainable society as quickly as possible, and calls for letting fossil fuel companies collapse and using taxpayer stimulus money to fund green jobs.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres noted during the Petersberg Virtual Dialogue, a two-day international conference on global warming, that coronavirus provides a “rare and short window of opportunity” to accelerate the international agencies 2030 Agenda.
“[Coronavirus] has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks,” Guterres said. “The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership.”
The same leadership is needed to address “the looming existential threat of climate disruption,” he continued. “These are dark days, but they are not without hope. We have a rare and short window of opportunity to rebuild our world for the better. Let us use the pandemic recovery to provide a foundation for a safe, healthy, inclusive and more resilient world for all people.”
Guterres insisted that U.S. taxpayer stimulus packages must create “green jobs” instead of “bailing out” the energy sector.
“Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth,” he said. “It must not be bailing out outdated, polluting, carbon-intensive industries.”
The Paris Agreement was made possible thanks to the participation of the United States and China, Guterres said. “Without the contribution of the big emitters, all our efforts will be doomed.”
Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases respect no boundaries, he added. “Isolation is a trap. No country can succeed alone.”