The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said biodiversity was declining sharply and climate disruption “approaching a point of no return’’.
Guterres stated this Wednesday in his message to mark the International Mother Earth Day.
It is a global event commemorated yearly on April 22 to drum support for environmental protection.
He said although all eyes were currently on the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was facing another deep emergency: “the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis’’.
The UN chief called for decisive global action to protect the planet from both the coronavirus and the “existential threat of climate disruption’’.
He described the coronavirus pandemic as an “unprecedented wake-up call’’.
He however emphasised the need for the world to use the lessons learnt to do things right for the future.
To this end, he proposed six climate-related actions to shape recovery efforts and the work ahead.
“First, as we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.
“Second, where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
“Third, fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to a green economy, and make societies and people more resilient,’’ he said.
Guterres also emphasised the need for investment of public funds on the future, particularly in “sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate’’.
He reiterated his call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and the need for environmental polluters to be held accountable and made to pay compensation.
“Climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policymaking and infrastructure,’’ he said.