Only One Earth

We must place true value on the environment and go beyond Gross Domestic Product as a measure of human progress and well-being," UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the opening of the opening of the UN Environment meeting Stockholm+50.

“We face a triple planetary crisis. A climate emergency that is killing and displacing ever more people each year. Ecosystem degradation that is escalating the loss of biodiversity and compromising the wellbeing of more than 3 billion people. And a growing tide of pollution and waste that is costing some 9 million lives a year,” said the UN Secretary-General.

“There is one thing that threatens all our progress. The climate crisis. Unless we act now, we will not have a livable planet. Excellencies, friends, scientists recently reported that there is a 50:50 chance that we could temporarily breach the Paris Agreement limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next five years. We cannot let that happen,” said Mr. Guterres, citing a WMO report.

The two-day meeting, 2 and 3 June 2022, had the theme “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.” It commemorates the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and celebrate 50 years of global environmental action.

The event aims to act as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and encourage the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans.

It precedes the annual Environment Day on 5 June, which this year has the theme Only One Earth.

In his remarks Guterres said that past successes, such as the rescuing of the ozone layer, should inspire the world, as we go forward. Thanks to international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is on track to recovery. WMO and UN Environment will this year issue the quadrennial Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion to assess progress and challenges.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-sponsored by WMO and UNEP, will issue its synthesis Sixth Assessment report later this year, summarizing the findings of its three working group reports on the physical science, impacts and mitigation of climate change.

Representatives of both WMO and the IPCC will be taking part in the Bonn Climate Conference or the 56th session of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 6 to 16 June 2022.

The Co-Chairs, and authors of the IPCC Working Group II will be presenting the findings from the report Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability at a SBSTA-IPCC special event. On 8 June 2022, the IPCC Working Group III Co-Chairs and authors will present the findings from the report Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change at a similar event. Both special events will be opened by the Chair of the IPCC Hoesung Lee.

The UN Secretary-General told the Stockholm+50 conference that  greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 45 per cent by 2030 to reach net-zero by 2050.  Developed nations must at least double support to developing countries so they can adapt and build resilience to the climate disruption that is already happening. Mr. Guterres called on G20 governments to dismantle coal infrastructure, with a full phase-out by 2030 for OECD countries and 2040 for all others.

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