Environment, climate change

21 January 2022, UN Headquarters

Secretary-General's opening remarks to press on his priorities for 2022

Good afternoon. 
 
Today I briefed the General Assembly on what I see as I scan today’s global landscape.
 
I did not pull any punches.  It’s not a pretty picture. 
 
I see a 5-alarm global fire.
 
You heard the speech.  I won’t repeat it. 
 
The essence of my message is simply this:  we don’t have the luxury to just catalogue our challenges. 
 
We must do something about them – and we can do something about them. 
 
So my message was stark – because that is the state of our world. 
 

21 January 2022, General Assembly

Secretary-General's remarks to the General Assembly on his Priorities for 2022

ecretary-General António Guterres briefs the UN General Assembly on his priorities for 2022. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

[All-English version; scroll down for All-French and bilingual as delivered versions]

Excellencies,

We begin another year in the grips of a global pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to upend lives, plans and hopes.

The only certainty is more uncertainty.
 
Meanwhile, inequalities are growing.

Inflation is rising. 

The climate crisis, pollution and biodiversity loss rage on.

We face a cauldron of political unrest and ferocious conflicts. 

Mistrust among world powers is reaching fever pitch.

13 November 2021, Glasgow, Scotland

Statement on the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26

Let me begin by thanking our hosts —the UK government and the people of Glasgow — for their tremendous hospitality.

I salute Alok Sharma and his team.  This was an extremely challenging conference. They have shown remarkable expertise in reaching consensus among parties.
 
I am grateful to Patricia Espinosa and all my colleagues of the United Nations Climate Change team.

And I express my gratitude to all delegates — and all those on the outside who have put pressure on this COP to deliver.

11 November 2021, Glasgow, Scotland

Remarks to Global Climate Action High-Level Event

Colleagues, friends,

This event – perhaps like no other at COP 26 – underscores a core truth:  

The climate action struggle requires all hands on deck.  

It is everyone’s responsibility.  

And you are showing the way.

03 November 2021, Cambridge

Remarks at Cambridge University Honorary Degree Ceremony 

Chancellor,
Vice Chancellor,
Academics,
Students,
Civic leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for this great honour.

I know that through me, you are recognizing the work of my United Nations colleagues around the world.

Cambridge has enduring links with global governance and the United Nations, from John Maynard Keynes, who played such an important role in establishing international economic institutions after the Second World War, to Margaret Anstee, the first woman to be appointed Assistant Secretary-General. 

02 November 2021, Glasgow, Scotland

Remarks to the Climate Vulnerable Forum Leaders Dialogue

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocol observed,

I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you at this global High Level Climate Vulnerable Countries Leaders’ Dialogue.

You stand on the frontlines of an ongoing COVID-19 crisis and an escalating climate emergency.

You represent those who are first to suffer and those who are last to receive help.

The solidarity you need is lacking.

The solidarity needs to emerge here in Glasgow.

01 November 2021, Glasgow, Scotland

Remarks at the COP26 Leaders’ Event: “Action and Solidarity - The Critical Decade”

I think this title is appropriate: Action and Solidarity - the Critical Decade. Because the most important act of solidarity, namely with the developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, is to guarantee that we do not go above 1.5 degrees. And to guarantee that we do not go above 1.5 degrees, this decade is essential.

01 November 2021, Glasgow

Remarks to the World Leaders Summit - COP26

Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the opening of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo: United Nations

[All-English version; scroll down for all-French version]

Dear Prime Minister Johnson, I want to thank you and to thank COP President Alok Sharma for your hospitality, your leadership, and your tireless efforts in the preparation of this COP.

Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The six years since the Paris Climate Agreement have been the six hottest years on record. 

Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink.

We face a stark choice:  Either we stop it — or it stops us. 

26 October 2021, General Assembly

Remarks to the High-Level Meeting on Delivering Climate Action - for People, Planet & Prosperity

[All-English version; scroll down for bilingual as delivered and all-French versions]

Mr. President of the General Assembly — thank you very for convening us and for your commitment and leadership mobilizing us all for climate action.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

The United Nations and this assembly were created precisely for the kind of challenge that brings us together today.

The climate crisis is a code red for humanity.

This assembly — and governments around the world — face a moment of truth.

26 October 2021, UN Headquarters

Opening remarks at the launch of the Emissions Gap 2021 Report press conference

Ladies and gentlemen of the press — good morning.

I welcome my colleague Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

We are both here to keep sounding the alarm. 

Less than one week before COP26 in Glasgow, we are still on track for climate catastrophe even with the last announcements that were made. 

The 2021 Emissions Gap Report shows that with the present Nationally Determined Contributions and other firm commitments of countries around the world, we are indeed on track for a catastrophic global temperature rise of around 2.7 degrees Celsius.