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An Open Letter - From Talal Abu-Ghazaleh to H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

01-Sep-2022 | Source : AG-IP-News Agency | Visits : 2006

Special to AG-IP-News Agency 

H.E. Mr. António Guterres
United Nations Secretary General

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

Climate Change is happening faster than what everyone thought
What you cannot measure, you cannot control

The UN has recently released a report that was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the report that took a detailed look at the threats and concluded that nations are not doing enough to protect the environment from the hazards that climate change is already bringing with it. Melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels and abnormal weather conditions are clearer to observe across the world, and we may well lose the ability to reverse these if greater action is not taken.

Back in 1999 and before it, and while I was serving as Chair of the UN working group on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (UNISAR), and concurrently serving on the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Accounting (IFAC), the UN S.G. then asked me to chair UN working group on climate change for the purpose of developing standards for accountability by public and private institutions for environment damages caused by them.

I put together a team of experts representing all major accountancy bodies in the world and produced a set of accounting standards of environment damages and presented it officially at a group meeting to the UN S.G. for adoption by the UN. But unfortunately the US and other countries ambassadors opposed the implementation of such standards because of their impact on their industries.

Now as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (CSU) at the UN, N.Y., I am calling on world leaders to work together on urgent action to protect the greatest human disaster that humanity will ace in the coming decades namely the climate change.

Climate change is happening faster than most expected and it seems that countries are not doing enough as the planet continues to heat up. The effects of climate change are happening so rapidly that it could soon overwhelm our ability to adapt, which would be devastating to our existence on this planet. 

I totally agree with the statement of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who said that the report serves as a ‘damning indictment of failed climate leadership’. It is clear that many are only giving lip service to the issue of climate change, particularly oil and gas companies who are very innovative in making the carbon numbers balance, but make very little actual difference in reality. This is a major issue as there is a growing need for energy around the world, and producing more energy while producing less carbon is indeed a huge challenge.

Heat waves, wild fires, scarcity of water, storms and floods are being seen on an unprecedented scale worldwide and are testament to the fact that climate change is no joke. The adverse effects are being felt widely and the results are certainly more negative than expected. Part of the problem is that nations have been too slow to adapt as the money is not there to help them build the necessary infrastructures to combat the effects. If this continues to happen, we will find more and more people forced to flee from their homes. It is clear that we cannot let climate change just take its course and hope to adapt to it, as early indicators are already showing that we are failing miserably at this front.

We must ensure that global warming does not increase by more than 1.5 degrees, as scientists point out that beyond this level would be catastrophic. In order to do so, we must work together to totally eliminate fossil fuels by 2050 and work with technology and energy companies to develop real alternatives. We must also help the much more exposed poorer nations to climate risks than their western counterparts. 

A decade ago, there were pledges by western nations to deliver $100 billion to develop newer, cleaner sources of energy and to adapt to climate change. Unfortunately, only a fraction of this pledged money has been forthcoming which is essential to prop up less wealthy nations who desperately need help. As an issue that is facing all of us, we must work together to combat it, as otherwise our efforts will go in vain.

As well as bringing down carbon emissions, we must work on taking action to protect our communities and use the strategies detailed in the UN report to prepare better. If this is left uncontrolled, people with the fewest resources and who are least responsible for this will feel the greatest impact with farming land becoming unusable, land becoming uninhabitable, heavier rainstorms decimating crops and extreme weather conditions making living unbearable.

We cannot allow an abdication of leadership to continue and we must bring energy giants to account. 

Best regards

Talal Abu-Ghazaleh


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