Speaking to the General Assembly in New York last week, António Guterres, General Secretary of the United Nations, called for a Climate Solidary Pact, where those emitting most make renewed efforts to stop burning carbon
The proposed Pact would see all countries taking extra efforts to reduce emissions, wealthier nations and international financial institutions providing assistance to emerging economies, ending dependence on fossil fuels and the building of coals plants, providing sustainable energy for all, and uniting to combine strategy and capacities for the benefit of humankind.
“The two largest economies – the United States and China – have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this Pact a reality. This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals” Guterres emphasized, asking governments to tax the pandemic-driven windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and redirect the money to people struggling with rising food and energy prices and countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis.
But how can we generate the support in local communities for such visions of hopeful futures together? Here in the UK our Prime Minister has just announced a U-turn on our policies on Net Zero and announced a sale of rights to oil and gas under the North Sea, taking rapid steps in the wrong direction.
Yesterday I was proud to take part in a local Make Polluters Pay Walk of Witness, calling on our Government to meet its commitment to finance the Loss and Damage Fund set up by the UN at COP26 in Glasgow. Walkers included people of many faiths and was a part of the Make Poverty Pay Coalition which includes Global Justice Now, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Debt Justice, Cafod, Save the Children, War on Want and others.
One hope for the future was the degree of support we received from members of the public – both in pavement conversations and from the many horns sounded as drivers passed us. Many individuals and communities are on the side of António Guterres and not with Rishi Sunak as we face existential disaster for our cultures, way of life and fellow creatures. Let us all commit to a Climate Solidarity Pact – and follow it through – at local, city, national and international levels.