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“Nature is angry”!

18 settembre 2019 No Comment

antonio-guterresNell’ambito del progetto internazionale Covering Climate Now, i giornalisti Mark Phillips della rete statunitense CBS News e Mark Hertsgaard della rivista The Nation, hanno intervistato il Segretario Generale delle Nazioni Unite Antonio Guterres, ( https://cbsnews.cimediacloud.com/r/Kz6pp4uvNtgU ) in vista del prossimo vertice sui cambiamenti climatici che si terrà all’ONU il prossimo 23 settembre.

Nell’intervista Guterres ribadisce l’estrema necessità, da parte di tutti i Governi, di promuovere urgentemente azioni a favore del clima e ad accelerare l’attuazione dell’accordo di Parigi.

In particolare il Segretario Generale si dichiara fiducioso nel vedere quanto sentito sia il problema, se si considerano quanti giovani, associazioni , aziende si stanno già mobilitando per sensibilizzare i propri i Governi ad agire concretamente.

Guterres dice che,  perché tutte le azioni intraprese possano risultare efficaci, le nostre scelte possono fare la differenza verso un decremento delle temperature globali:  ad esempio nel modo in cui produciamo cibo, nel modo in cui organizziamo le città e alimentiamo l’economia, nel modo in cui produciamo energia. Tutto ciò , afferma il Segretario Generale, è sostenuto dalla scienza che ritiene non sia ancora troppo tardi per raggiungere questi traguardi e sempre più persone al mondo avvertono l’impellente necessità a che tutto ciò si realizzi.

Aggiunge inoltre Guterres che i cambiamenti climatici si stanno rilevando drammatici non solo per le conseguenze sempre più disastrose  attraverso eventi estremi, siccità , alluvioni e scioglimento dei ghiacciai, ma anche per la conseguente diffusione di malattie tropicali che si stanno propagando verso il nord del pianeta e diventa dunque una questione di sanità pubblica.

Quanto all’Europa, in vista del vertice, la Commissione  Europea ha adottato un piano in cui ribadisce l’impegno dell’UE a mantenere un ruolo di primo piano nella lotta ai cambiamenti climatici. L’UE è sulla buona strada per quanto riguarda il conseguimento dell’obiettivo di riduzione delle emissioni di gas a effetto serra entro il 2030. Inoltre, fornisce più del 40% dei finanziamenti pubblici per il clima a livello mondiale.

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato originariamente come intervista su CBS News da parte di Mark Phillips e su The Nation da parte di Mark Hertsgaard. E’ qui ripubblicato in forma sintetica come testimonianza della partecipazione di Aletheia.it al progetto Covering Climate Now, una collaborazione internazionale di più di 250 testate per rafforzare la sensibilizzazione verso il problema del riscaldamento globale.

 

“This story originally appeared in CBS News by Mark Phillips  and  The Nation by Mark Hertsgaard .

It is republished here as part of Aletheia.it‘s  partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

CBS NEWS – EVENING NEWS  UN SECRETARY GENERAL INTERVIEW WITH ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

CORRESPONDENT: MARK PHILLIPS, MARK HERTSGAARD

PRODUCER: BETTY CHIN

MEDIA ID: LIVE

15:45:02;17                                                                                                          (OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:45:03;20                                         All right. I’m Mark Phillips from CBS News. And–

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:45:06;18                                                          I’m mark Hertsgaard with The Nation magazine the Covering Climate Now collaboration.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:45:11;14                                         Antonio Guterres. Pleasure to be with you. (LAUGHTER)

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:45:15;15                                         Please, go ahead.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:45:17;02                                         Mr. Secretary General, thank you for making this time for the interview with the Covering Climate Now Consortium of news outlets around the world. You’ve been working very hard on the climate problem, calling it an emergency. People all over the world are scared. They want action. But you have called the Special Climate Action Summit next Monday because their governments are not delivering that action, at least not yet. What is the one thing that people listening to this interview right now can do to get their governments to lift their game, to act like this is the emergency that you say it is?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:45:55;14                                            Well, first, the Republican can mobilize in different ways. We have seen the youth. We have a fantastic leadership in this regard. We see– we see the society, the– non-government organizations. We see the business community, cities, regions that more and more– not only put pressure on the government for climate action– and you have seen that al– already in elections in different parts of (UNINTEL) and Europe in the last– European elections.

 

15:46:26;14                                            But that also themselves assuming climate action. We see cities reducing emissions. We see businesses– also reducing their emissions. We see asset managers divesting from coal or from fossil fuels– (UNINTEL). We see the banks– having climate in their criteria– for– financial operations. We see (UNINTEL) taking climate into– their– considerations. Central banks considering climate risks need to be– assumed. So I see the whole of a society being more and more engaged in climate action. And what I want is to have the whole society putting pressure on governments to make governments understand they need to run faster.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:47:10;15                                                          And–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:47:10;16                                            Because we are losing the race.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:47:12;03                                            We’re losing the race is why you call it an emergency, right?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:47:15;00                                                          Yes. I mean if you see the way– we– the multiplication of– natural disasters. Each time more intensive, more devastating consequences. I just came from the Bahamas. It is appalling to see what I’ve seen. Total destruction. Droughts in Africa. That is not only a problem for the population– and a problem for their wellbeing and forcing people to move, it’s also more and more something that supports conflict and terrorism.

 

15:47:43;01                                                (UNINTEL) is a good– example of that. You see glaciers melting. You see corals bleaching. You see the food chains being– put into question. And– clearly– as we have– the highest temperatures ever– July was the hottest month– ever. The– this five years will be the hottest five years– in record. We see the rising level of the ocean– taking place. The highest concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

 

15:48:10;08                                                          You need to go back three to five million years to get the same levels of CO2. And at that time water level was 10 to 20 meters higher than it was– it is today. So we are really dealing with a very dramatic threat not only to the future of the planet but to the planet today.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:48:27;24                                                          You mentioned civil society. One of the ideas that has really electrified civil society in the United States and overseas has been the Green New Deal, which of course you know about. Governments creating millions of jobs by investing in climate protection, climate mitigation, getting off of fossil fuels, and preparing for the impacts of those– gases. Here in the United States– pretty much all of the Democratic presidential candidates backed one form or another of a Green New Deal.

 

15:48:55;12                                                          But only one of those candidates– supports a Green New Deal that has– that meets the science. And we just reported today in The Nation magazine that– Bernie Sanders, the Democratic senator, the– the independent senator from– Vermont– is the one candidate who seems to recognize what the U.N. has been saying all along, that any Green New Deal to work has to be global. That rich countries must help the developing countries to leave fossil fuels behind.

 

15:49:26;21                                                That’s been a theme of these c– climate summits since 1992 at the Earth Summit. Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal proposes to spend $200 billion for the U.S. to help less developing countries. Are you aware of Senator Sanders’ proposal? And is that enough money? Is– do you think that is the kind of proposal that would get support here at the U.N. from developing nations?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:49:51;05                                                          Well, the Paris Agreement was clear. In the Paris Agreement, there was a commitment by the developed countries from private and public sources to mobilize $100 billion per year to support the developing world both in mitigation and adaptation. And– obviously, it is essential that all countries, including the United States, play a role in relation to this.

 

15:50:11;20                                                          Because without support to the developing world, even from the adaptation point of view, because climate change is already there, of course the– the impact can be absolutely devastating. So– I very strongly in favor– of– the clarification of the commitments make in Paris to give the developing world the guarantee that what was promised in Paris will be effectively delivered. But I think there are a number of other innovations that are essential, in my opinion.

 

15:50:41;22                                                Many times people give the idea that, okay, to put the price on carbon means a cost for the people. Not necessarily. Even if you use the– the– the most radical way, taxation, you can shift taxes from income and (UNINTEL) on payroll to carbon. And that makes the middle class better from the point of view of– their income situation. When we look at subsidies to fossil fuels, they usually are presented as a benefit to the population.

 

15:51:09;22                                                But let’s be clear: Subsidies are paid with taxpayers’ money. I really do not like to see my money as a taxpayer going to (UNINTEL), or to bleach corals, or to melt glaciers. So I think it’s more and more necessary to explain things to people in a way that people understand that the biggest cost is the cost of doing nothing. The biggest cost is going down, subsidizing fossil fuels, building more and more coal power plants, having less and less capacity to– understand that we are really facing a climate emergency.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:51:44;24                                                Just to clarify, though, that– are you familiar with Senator Sanders’ proposal on the Green New Deal?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:51:48;20                                                          Yeah. Of course. Any– attitude from a country like United States to increase and to boost finance to developing world would be of course welcome. That doesn’t mean that we want to interfere in the American election.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:52:01;08                                                          Of course not.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:52:01;16                                                          Because that is something that the U.N. cannot do.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:52:04;10                                                          You– you say that you have to get people and governments to listen to the arguments that you– that you make, such as the one you just did. But you’ve also just listed a few minutes ago a whole range of dire consequences that we’re already seeing, hottest years on record, record rates of melting the polar ice caps, all of the other consequences, severe storms. That this is three years after the Paris Accord were agreed. Are you facing a situation of desperation now? It that why you’ve had to call this conference, because the Paris Accord– there’s no evidence at this point that they’re actually producing the result that we all hoped they would?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:52:40;23                                                          No, I’m not desperate. I am hopeful because I see a lot of movement in society. And I see more and more pressure being put in relation to government. If you look at the most recent poll in United States, you will see that the– overwhelming majority of American cities now consider climate change to be a serious threat and consider the government need to act in addition to that.

15:53:00;12                                                                                                          (OVERTALK)

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:53:01;05                                                          And that is the reason–

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:53:02;05                                                          A government that’s not acting at (UNINTEL).

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:53:03;16                                                But that– that is reason why I’m hopeful. Governments allow follow public opinion everywhere in the world, sooner or later. And so– but we need to stay the course. We need to keep– telling the truth to people and be confident that the political system, especially democratic political systems, will, in the end, sooner or later, deliver according to the needs that the population feels.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:53:26;15                                                The– the latest– coming out of Washington is that the administration may well limit the ability of places you have cited as bright spots in the American context, California in particular, to lose the autonomy that it had to set lower pollution and emission standards than Washington would sanction. If that happens, isn’t the– the American impediment to all of this international effort to mitigate climate change weakened ever further?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:53:53;20                                                I think one of the best things of the U.S. society is the fact that it is a federal country and the fact that decisions are decentralized. So we always very strong in favor of keeping decisions on climate change as decentralized as possible.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:54:07;24                                                But in– in this case, the central government is restricting the ability of one of the decentralized governments, California–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:54:14;10                                                Which I believe goes against the tradition that United States always have–

15:54:17;14                                                                                                          (OVERTALK)

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:54:19;02                                                –decentralizing decisions for the states, which I think is a good thing.

MARK HERTSGAARD:

15:54:21;22                                                How much more– how much easier would your job be if the U.S. position were different than– than it is now?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:54:26;24                                                I mean it is clear that if– we would be able to have– U.S. strongly committed to climate action. If we would be able to have– countries, mainly in Asia– not– selling– coal power plants. If we would be able to have everybody already implementing– what– the– (UNINTEL) government (UNINTEL) climate change deciding it was necessary, which means to have a chance to reach carbon (UNINTEL) in 2050 and to reduce emissions by 45% in 2030.

 

15:55:03;14                                                If everybody was on board with that, I would be much better. If it is not yet the case, it is our role to keep putting pressure, to keep pushing, and to keep trying to convince more and more people everywhere that– this needs to be done. Because–

15:55:18;23                                                                                                          (MARK PHILLIPS UNINTEL)

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:55:19;22                                                          –nature is angry.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:55:21;10                                                          Nature is angry.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:55:22;24                                                And nature you cannot– you cannot play tricks with nature. Nature strikes back. And we are seeing nature striking back. And this is a very serious problem. And there are other areas that sometimes people do not talk about. But, for instance, public health. We see the combination of pollutions, climate change killing seven million people per year in the world. And we see tropical diseases moving north and becoming a threat– to countries in the developed world.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:55:49;24                                                          As the North warms.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:55:51;14                                                And so I mean it’s not only the question of the glaciers that melted, the corals that bleached; that sometimes people feel are– a little bit more far away. No. It’s things that are now related to our daily lives, storms in our home countries, even in the North, droughts in our home countries, even in the North, in case of my country, and– diseases that were completely forgotten– in– the developed world– with risk of coming back.

 

15:56:17;23                                                          And this is something that– people should be more and more aware of. And this will be, I believe, a very strong instrument to put pressure on governments to act. Because it’s the life of people everywhere, including the North, that is being threatened. The last heat wave in Europe killed lots of people, especially elderly people. And elderly (UNINTEL) are becoming more and more important everywhere.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:56:40;05                                                          Do you still have hope of convincing the Trump administration of the– what you would see as the error of its ways in its approach to climate change and in withdrawing from the international–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:56:48;20                                                          Hope is a thing–

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:56:49;01                                                          –accord?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:56:49;15                                                          –that– we should never lose. But in any case– I think there is work to be done with– the civil society, with the business community, with the asset owners, with the states, with the cities. And that work is also proving results that are very important.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:57:04;12                                                The– the fact is, though, that even with the pledges for the diminishing of greenhouse production that– that were made in Paris, much of the– none of that would bring the heating levels of the climate down to the desired 1.5%, I think three– 3°, rather.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:57:24;02                                                          We are still increasing emissions.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:57:25;11                                                          We’re still increasing emissions, even after–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:57:27;24                                                          This is why we need to change the course, reverse the trend.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:57:31;21                                                          –even after Paris.

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:57:32;24                                                          Even after Paris.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:57:34;02                                            And– and how much of a problem is this that it’s Washington’s position– are you hearing other countries say, “Well, if they won’t, why should we?”

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:57:42;14                                            No. I don’t think that is the problem anymore. Think now, clearly– and I was in Katowice. It was a difficult moment, as you know, to– Katowice was essential to implement the– the Paris Agreement. And in the end, it was possible to have everybody onboard, including, by the way, the United States delegation.

 

15:57:59;24                                            My feeling is more and more that countries understand that they cannot wait for their neighbor. They need to act by themselves, because the risk is– is a global risk. It’s not a risk for one country or another. So nobody is– in my opinion, able to escape. And so my feeling is that independently of– what one country decides, other countries will be able to more and more commit to the– Paris Agreement and to the increased ambition that we need for the Paris Agreement to be a reality.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:58:31;24                                            Simple MARK PHILLIPS: You say emissions are continuing to increase. The temperatures are continuing to rise. All of the consequences, storms, et cetera, are continuing to happen in greater frequency. Is– is– has Paris failed?

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:58:47;07                                                          No. Because– more and more countries are now taking measures that will reverse this trend. If you look at what’s happened in the European Union recently, only three countries opposed the– the strategy to have carbon neutrality in– 2050. And I believe that even that will be overcome. If we look at– our solar example is growing– in countries like India or China. It’s about remarkable.

 

15:59:16;24                                            If you see how even countries– in the small island development states are themselves taking measures to reduce emissions, even if their contribution is ridiculous. You feel that there is a new wind of hope that is blowing. So I think we are getting to the top and will start coming down soon.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:59:37;21                                                          Just one quick follow up to–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

15:59:39;07                                                          To stop emissions.

MARK PHILLIPS:

15:59:40;07                                            Yeah. If it’s a wind of hope, it’s– it’s a hot wind– that blowing now and– and an increasingly hotter wind. Is it time to, if not give up, at least face the reality that these targets are not going to be met? There’s no indication so far that the targets will be met and that the efforts of organizations like the U.N. should be more directed toward adapting to the world we’re more likely to face and, if not give up, at least lessen the effort, redirect–

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

16:00:07;06                                                          We need to do both.

MARK PHILLIPS:

16:00:07;24                                                          –that (UNINTEL).

ANTONIO GUTERRES:

16:00:08;19                                             We need to support adaptation and support, especially, the countries that are in the front line of the negative impacts. But what the science tells us today is that these targets are still reachable. But that means we’ve found changes in the way we produce food, in the way we power our– economies, in the way we organize our cities, in the way we produce– energy. And this is the kind of transformational changes that– I feel are needed and I feel that more and more people, companies, cities, and governments are understanding that needs to be done.

16:00:47;24                                                                                                          (OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

 

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