Out with the old, in with the new. That was the mantra U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres espoused as he promised the world will never be the same again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Embracing the chance to push “humanity on a path on which it is not in conflict with nature,” is the desire of the former leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party, who urged “greater efforts by everyone to protect biodiversity and step up climate action.”
Addressing world leaders at the One Planet Summit on Monday, Guterres outlined how he saw a brave new world of the future, based on the theme of a great climate and economic reset he has espoused before. Guterres said:
We have been poisoning air, land and water – and filling oceans with plastics. Now, nature is striking back: temperatures are reaching record highs, biodiversity is collapsing, deserts are spreading, [and] fires, floods and hurricanes are more frequent and extreme… We are extremely fragile.
Pandemic recovery is our chance to change course. With smart policies and the right investments, we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies and builds resilience and rescues biodiversity.
The U.N. chief, 71, said he envisaged a new future alignment between “public and private financial flows” that obeyed the Paris Agreement commitments to “integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal decisions.”
As we rebuild, we cannot revert to the old normal.
Pandemic recovery is our chance to change course.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) January 11, 2021
Organized by the French Government in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, the One Planet Summit brought together world leaders “to commit action to protect and restore bio-diversity.” Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event was largely virtual.
Monday’s call by Guterres for the world to unite and rebuild was not the first time has has voiced the belief that a crisis can be an opportunity for vast global change.
As Breitbart News reported, last June he said the world needs an overarching level of multilateral governance that can sideline problematic “national interests” as he lamented existing U.N. instruments such as the Security Council have teeth but “show little or no appetite to bite.”
He added there is a need to “re-imagine the way nations cooperate,” before warning “We need a networked multilateralism, bringing together the U.N. system, regional organisations, international financial institutions and others. And we need an inclusive multilateralism, drawing on the indispensable contributions of civil society, business, cities, regions and, in particular, with greater weight given to the voices of youth.”
Last month Guterres called for the world to reconsider how power is distributed while looking for an opportunity to “reset the world economy.”
In overcoming #COVID19, we can also avert climate catastrophe and restore our planet.
We have a chance to not simply reset the world economy but to transform it.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 2, 2020
Here’s what Guterres demanded the nations of the world do:
- Put a price on carbon
- Phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies
- Shift the tax burden from income to carbon, and from tax payers to polluters
- Integrate the goal of carbon neutrality (a similar concept to net zero) into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions
If we don’t, he said, we’re living on borrowed time, repeating a warning he made earlier in 2020 year while pleading for changes to global power structures.