United Nations Chief Calls For ‘Enlightened Self-Interest’ From World Leaders To Save ‘The Whole Planet’ From Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

“We need to tax pollution, not people. …Taxpayer money should not be used to boost hurricanes, spread drought and heatwaves, melt glaciers and bleach corals. We need a green economy, not a grey economy”  – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

News from the United Nations

Posted May 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Concluding a week-long visit to the South Pacific, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the world’s decision-makers (this May 18th) to make “enlightened” choices on climate action because “the whole planet” is at stake. 

“Over the past week, I have witnessed first-hand the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Island States”, the UN chief said in a statement concluding his visit to the region. “They contribute very little to the global climate emergency and yet, they are the ones that are being most affected”.  

He did not mince words in saying that for some of them, “climate change is now an existential threat”.

Pointing out that entire villages are being relocated, livelihoods destroyed and people becoming sick from climate-related diseases, Mr. Guterres lamented: “The risks are all too real”.


He drew attention to his time in Tuvalu, where he saw “an entire country fighting to preserve its very existence”.  

And yet, the UN chief found “remarkable” that the countries facing these enormous challenges, have decided that “they are not giving up” but are instead “determined to find solutions”. 

Not only have they developed ways to increase their resilience and adaptation, but according to Mr. Guterres, “they are leading the way in reducing emissions and are an example that the rest of the world should follow”.  

In Vanuatu, his final stop in the Pacific, the Secretary-General tweeted that the vulnerable island State was one of “the most disaster-prone countries, made worse by the global climate emergency”. However, he added that he “saw first-hand how the Pacific island nation is facing threats with determined climate action”. 

Reiterating the powerful message that he has continued to underscore throughout his visit to the South Pacific, the UN chief stressed that “climate change cannot be stopped by the small island countries alone, it has to be stopped by the rest of the world” and that this requires the political will for “transformational policies in energy, mobility, industry and agriculture”. 

Mr. Guterres echoed the “three urgent messages” to world leaders that he had “consistently conveyed” throughout his visit to the Pacific, beginning with shifting taxes from salaries to carbon. “We need to tax pollution, not people,” he reiterated. 

Second, he flagged that countries must stop subsidizing fossil fuels.  

“Taxpayer money should not be used to boost hurricanes, spread drought and heatwaves, melt glaciers and bleach corals”, he asserted. 
And third, he argued against building new coal plants by 2020, saying “we need a green economy not a grey economy”. 

Mr. Guterres said that solidarity or generosity is not being sought, “it is enlightened self-interest from all decision-makers around the world” that is needed “because it’s not only of the Pacific that is at stake, it’s the whole planet”.

“To save the Pacific is to save the whole planet”, concluded the Secretary-General. 

For more on the climate disasters confronting our world, click on – Climate Change

A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large –

Ford and Kenney are trying to con us into believing that they are champions in a fight against a carbon tax. What these two climate deniers are actually opposing is putting a price on pollution.

As you consider what you have read above, it is also important to keep in mind that Tory leaders in Canada like Ontario Premier Doug Ford, recently-elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and federal Tory leader and prime minister want-to-be Andrew Scheer are now fighting in the courts and political arena to block the current federal government from placing a price on climate changing carbon pollution.

Regardless of what we may think of the current Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s efforts of or lack of efforts to address what could be a climate catastrophe for our planet if we don’t act now, electing Scheer prime minister in Canada would be as disastrous as having Trump in the White House south of the border.

Having Scheer as Canada’s prime minister, in tandem with a Ford government in Ontario and Kenney government in Alberta would constitute nothing less than an axis of grave danger for our future and for the future of our children.

Niagara At Large is re-posting a passionate message Greta Thunberg, a now 16-year-old girl from Sweden, delivered to leaders of the European Union a few months ago. Greta makes more sense on the global danger now facing us than Ford, Kenny and Scheer, and their like, ever will.

Please watch and hear what Greta has to say by clicking on the screen below

 NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

 A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


One response to “United Nations Chief Calls For ‘Enlightened Self-Interest’ From World Leaders To Save ‘The Whole Planet’ From Climate Change

  1. The tone of experts and the tone of media reports about the Climate Crisis is taking a massive leap into the reality of the situation.
    That’s right; “climate crisis” not “climate change”.
    According to the report Niagara at Large writes about, the Pacific Ocean with its low lying islands is in grave danger.
    Major shifts in governance are needed. The United Nations Secretary General calls for a shift of taxes from salaries to carbon, a halt to subsidizing fossil fuels and a world-wide stop to building coal fired power plants.
    Meanwhile the Arctic ocean with more open water is now accelerating a feedback of global heating.
    “Global Heating” is now replacing “Global Warming” in the writing styles of leading newspapers another news outlets.
    The teen Greta Thunberg clearly summarizes her feeling about these times: “It’s 2019!! Can we all now call it what it is; climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis.”
    A more direct use of language will lead to long awaited government and civil-society actions.

    Don Alexander


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