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UN chief calls for "meaningful" climate action in aspects of recovery from COVID-19

Baku, September 5, AZERTAC

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged governments to incorporate "meaningful" climate action in all aspects of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Xinhua.

Addressing ministers at a virtual meeting on sustainable recovery from COVID-19, Guterres said that the world is confronting two urgent crises: COVID-19 and climate change.

"Let us tackle both and leave future generations with the hope that this moment is a true turning point for people and planet," he said, in a video message.

The ministerial meeting, convened by the government of Japan, saw the participation of senior officials from several countries, as well as representatives from youth groups, civil society organizations, businesses and local governments.

In parallel, an online portal that showcases climate and environment policies and actions in recovery from COVID-19 was launched. The Platform for Redesign 2020 will help build momentum for COP26, the UN conference that assesses progress in dealing with climate change, to be held in 2021.

The secretary-general outlined six climate-positive actions for a sustainable recovery, including investing in green jobs; not bailing out polluting industries; ending fossil fuel subsidies; accounting for climate risk in all financial and policy decisions; working together; and most importantly leaving no one behind.

Guterres spoke of governments and businesses shifting toward them, realizing that clean energy brings more jobs, cleaner air, better health and stronger economic growth.

"The world's top investors - including some in Japan - are abandoning fossil fuels because renewables are cheaper and more efficient," he said.

"They understand that it makes no economic sense to burn money on coal plants that will soon become stranded assets," he added.

The UN chief also called on all countries, especially members of the G20 - the group of top industrialized nations - to commit to carbon neutrally before 2050.

He urged them to submit "more ambitious" nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies before COP26 aligned with the goal to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Recognizing Japan's technological development in many fields, the secretary-general said the country can become a world leader on sustainable and resilient recovery.

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