UN leader arrives in New Zealand on climate change trip

António Guterres expressed solidarity with victims of the Christchurch terror attacks and their families

ALDEN WILLIAMS STUFFAntónio Guterres expressed solidarity with victims of the Christchurch terror attacks and their families

Despite clear manifestations of the climate and ecological crises-including record warm temperatures, a million species at risk of extinction, and atmosphere carbon levels at historic highs-global political leadership is not taking action in line with the needed urgency and scope, he said. Guterres has arrived in New Zealand as part of a trip to the South Pacific to highlight the issue of climate change.

We can not allow runaway climate change.

"The paradox is that as things are getting worse on the ground, political will seems to be fading".

Global emissions are reaching record levels - the last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990.

However, he did excuse New Zealand from his accusation, describing Wellington's leadership as "extremely important" after it introduced legislation to become carbon neutral by 2050, although greenhouse gas emissions from its economically vital agricultural sector will not have to meet the commitment.

Mr. Guterres pointed out that he normally pays a "solidarity visit" to a Muslim country during Ramadan but, this year, he chose to visit the Muslim community in Christchurch, "to pay tribute to their courage, to their resilience, but also to pay tribute to the extraordinary unity and to the message of solidarity that was given by the people and the government of New Zealand".

The Secretary-General said his visit will also involve meeting the families of victims of the Christchurch terror attacks, to "pay tribute to their courage and resilience". "The worldwide community, and especially the scientific community, has been very clear that to reach this goal we absolutely need to have carbon neutrality by 2050".

He said he admired the solidarity New Zealand showed after the attack, and praised Ardern for helping implement new gun control laws and for urging other world leaders and tech companies to find a way to prevent acts of extremism from being shown online, after the gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook.

Guterres also plans to visit the island nations of Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The climate action summit at the United Nations in September is being billed as the last chance to prevent irreversible climate change, three years after the Paris agreement went into force.

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