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UN Secretary on Earth Day: The Environmental Crisis Is an “Even Deeper Emergency”
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, April 22, 2020 @ 08:00 PM (EST)
Source: United Nations


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says that we must not forget the deeper environmental emergency facing the planet—even in the face of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. His remarks were released as the world commemorates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22nd. While the Secretary General described the pandemic as the planet’s greatest challenge since World War II, he highlighted the seriousness of the “unfolding environmental crisis.”

“Biodiversity is in steep decline,” said Mr Guterres. “Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return. We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption. The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call. We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.”

He proposed six climate-related actions “to shape the recovery and the work ahead”:

  • First: As we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.
  • Second: Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
  • Third: Fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy and make societies and people more resilient.
  • Fourth: Public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate. Fossil fuel subsidies must end and polluters must start paying for their pollution.
  • Fifth: Climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system, as well as all aspects of public policymaking and infrastructure.
  • Sixth: We need to work together as an international community.

Many observers and experts have highlighted the links between the coronavirus outbreak and our treatment of the environment, including climate change, biodiversity destruction, deforestation, and marine pollution, all of which adversely affect the resilience of systems both natural and human.

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