UN skewers world leaders' handling of the climate crisis, saying countries are 'utterly failing' and 'way off track'

UN skewers world leaders' handling of the climate crisis, saying countries are 'utterly failing' and 'way off track'

United Nations Chief António Guterres said in a speech that countries are "utterly failing" to fight the climate crisis, according to a UN report released Monday that found countries' pledges to reduce carbon emissions are falling significantly short of targets, Business Insider reports.

"The emissions gap is the result of a leadership gap," Guterres told reporters on Tuesday. "But leaders can still make this a turning point to a greener future instead of a tipping point to climate catastrophe."

The Paris agreement set a goal to keep global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, but the UN report found countries are falling behind. Unless action is taken quickly, temperatures could rise to about 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

In addition, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) — a UN body — said on Monday that carbon dioxide has risen by more than the 10-year average in 2020 to 413.2 part per million, despite the world economy slowing during the pandemic.

"We are way off track," WMO's Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said, adding that carbon dioxide levels haven't been this high for at least 3 million years.

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