COP27: Warning world is ‘doomed’ unless COP27 delivers historic pact

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has said the world is "doomed" unless a "historic pact" is signed between rich and poor countries, speaking on the eve of Cop27.

The gathering of world leaders, business figures and environmentalists is being hosted at Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, following last year's summit in Glasgow.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Guterres said the result of present policies and dynamics between the developed and developing world, if unchanged, would be "absolutely catastrophic".

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"There is no way we can avoid a catastrophic situation, if the two – the developed and developing world - are not able to establish a historic pact," he said.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Wealthy nations have long promised to find 100 billion dollars a year in climate finance for poor nations, with the target originally meant to have been hit in 2020.

It was first promised in 2009, but has never been accomplished. A report last year suggested it would not come to fruition until 2023. Mr Guterres also defended his use of dramatic language, saying the world is approaching "tipping points" that will "make [climate breakdown] irreversible".

"And as we are approaching those tipping points, we need to increase the urgency, we need to increase the ambition, and we need to rebuild trust, mainly trust between north and south," he said. "Because at the present level, we will be doomed. Present policies will be absolutely catastrophic.

"And the truth is that we will not be able to change this situation if a pact is not put in place between developed countries and the emerging economies."

On Friday, Rishi Sunak spoke at a Cop27 reception hosted by the King in anticipation of the conference. The Prime Minister is attending the event in Egypt next week after a U-turn, but Charles will miss the event.

Speaking at a reception staged in the Buckingham Palace ballroom on Friday, Mr Sunak said: "As recent events have shown, delivering on the promise of Glasgow is more important than ever. More important because as we have seen so starkly with the war in Ukraine, it is vital to invest in secure, renewable sources of energy and sustainable food production.

"More important because every moment we allow climate change to ravage our planet we will see more human suffering like the devastating floods in Pakistan.

"And more important because if we do not act today, we will risk leaving an ever more desperate inheritance for our children."