Only world leaders can cure climate change 'sickness,' says UN head

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the opening ceremony at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.- AP

DUBAI (dpa): UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged heads of state and governments to take a decisive and united stance against climate change as the COP28 conference got under way for a second day in Dubai.

"Polar ice and glaciers are vanishing before our eyes, causing havoc the world over: From landslides and floods, to rising seas," Guterres told delegations at the event in the United Arab Emirates.

"But this is just one symptom of the sickness bringing our climate to its knees - a sickness only you, global leaders, can cure," he said, citing his recent visits to melting ice glaciers in Antarctica and Nepal: "These two spots are far in distance, but united in crisis."

"The Earth's vital signs are failing," Guterres continued, also warning that global warming was "busting budgets, ballooning food prices, upending energy markets, and feeding a cost-of-living crisis."

However, it is not too late to take action and the COP 28 climate change summit must be a "game changer," said Guterres, stressing that economies and companies around the world should switch to renewable energy.

Climate action, he said, can still "flip that switch." - dpa

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COP28 , Dubai , UN Climate Talks , Guterres , Satement


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