UN Secretary General António Guterres has urged leaders “to ensure that projects deliver the green, sustainable infrastructure countries need to support people and ecosystems alike, while breaking free of failed development models that keep us hooked on fossil fuels.”
Again, he saw two key areas where investments can help boost efforts towards sustainability and climate action.
First, he underscored the need for “green transportation and municipal power systems” that do not pollute the environment or destroy biodiversity while providing affordable electricity for all.
“We need building and construction industries taking their impacts on nature into account across their plans and projects,” he added.
“We need buildings and water and power-systems that are climate-resilient and able to continue serving communities in the face of disaster.”
Additionally, any new infrastructure investment must “turbocharge a just and sustainable transition away from planet-wrecking fossil fuels towards renewable energy” – his second point.
In this regard, Guterres recalled his proposal for a Climate Solidarity Pact that pushes major emitters to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, his Acceleration Agenda urges all governments to “hit fast-forward on their energy transitions.”
The UN chief stressed the need to deliver the US$100 billion commitment to support climate action in developing countries, to double adaptation finance by 2025, and operationalise the loss and damage fund at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai next month.
He also recalled his appeal to end the licensing of new oil and gas projects, scrap fossil fuel subsidies, and exit coal by 2040. “The Green Silk Road can be a critical part of this process to fast-track a fair, equitable and just energy transition, as we bring clean and affordable power to all and travel true net-zero pathways,” he said.