Highlighting the seriousness of the impact of climate change on the planet and its inhabitants, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called for sustained action to meet the global challenge and to ensure a peaceful and sustainable future for all.

“The effects of climate change are dangerous and they are accelerating,” Secretary-General Guterres told a gathering of students, business leaders and academics at the New York University Stern School of Business.

“It is absolutely essential that the world implements the Paris Agreement [on climate change] – and that we fulfil that duty with increased ambition,” he underscored, recalling the ground-breaking agreement that entered into force last November.

The Agreement calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.

It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and calls for scaled up financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework to support action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives.

Laying out a five-point action plan to mobilize the world for climate action, the UN chief underscored that he will intensify political engagement with countries to increase efforts to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degree-Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degree-Celsius, the first point.

The UN chief also said that he will work to with UN Member States mobilize national and international resources for adaptation, resilience, and the implementation of national climate action plans, and called for new and strengthened partnerships, including with the private sector and through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Further in his remarks, the Secretary-General cautioned that failure to act on combatting climate change would in turn harm the countries themselves for their inaction.

“Those who fail to bet on the green economy will be living in a grey future [but] those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the twenty-first century,” he said.

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