Cutting emissions is responsibility of G20 nations, UN’s Guterres says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 29, 2024 | 6:40 PM

KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Reuters) -U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said cutting emissions is “essentially” the responsibility of G20 nations, the largest pollutors, calling for stronger targets and fairer financing for countries bearing the brunt of climate change.

Guterres, speaking ahead of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said “more climate justice” was needed, including reasonable financing costs for developing countries to protect themselves from climate change.

“It is absolutely essential that there is not only a much bigger ambition in relation to the reduction of emissions, and that is essentially a responsibility of the G20 countries that represent 80% of the emissions,” Guterres said.

He added that more climate justice entailed “much more finance available at reasonable cost for adaptation and mitigation for developing countries, and in particular for small island developing states.”

Caribbean countries have long called for climate reparations, such as a “loss and damage” fund paid into by richer countries for vulnerable nations to access funds for damages incurred by climate disasters.

Caribbean countries additionally face high debt-to-GDP ratios, and have called for debt relief so governments are not forced to choose between deploying humanitarian and emergency response projects and paying back debt.

Guterres said that climate change would be one of the issues he would raise at the summit on Friday, as well as the international response to a worsening conflict and humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

“It is the moment to recognize that Latin America and the Caribbean have been victims of an unfair international financial system and that many of them in particular are victims of runaway climate change,” he said.

(Reporting by Robertson S. Henry; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Kylie Madry)