United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres ripped the world’s efforts to fight climate change calling them “utterly inadequate,” the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Guterres condemned world leaders the day before the start of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid expected to gather representatives from nearly 200 countries to discuss global efforts to combat climate change.
He said that while scientific knowledge and technical abilities are advanced enough to reduce the impacts of global warming, leaders are not making political efforts.
“What is still lacking is political will,” Guterres told reporters in Madrid, according to the AP. “Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels. Political will to stop building coal power plants from 2020 onwards. Political will to shift taxation from income to carbon. Taxing pollution instead of people.”
The UN leader added that higher temperatures are already causing more extreme weather worldwide.
“The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” AP reported Guterres said. “It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”
The delegates are gathering between Dec. 2 and 13 to work out the details of the 2015 Paris climate accord, specifically including the development of international emissions trading systems and reparations for poor countries affected by climate change, the AP reported.
Countries originally pledged in the Paris agreement to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, but temperatures have already risen 1 degree Celsius.
Guterres noted 70 countries have committed to stop emissions by 2050, but these countries do not include the “largest emitters.”
“Without them, our goal is unreachable,” he said, according to AP.
The U.S., which has triggered the process for withdrawing from the climate accords, is sending Marcia Bernicat, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is also managing a delegation of Democrats in the negotiations, according to the newswire.