NEW YORK / GUTERRES STATE OF THE PLANET

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02-Dec-2020 00:06:12
“The state of the planet is broken,” said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York. Guterres described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

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STORY: NEW YORK / GUTERRES STATE OF THE PLANET
TRT: 6:13
SOURCE: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 2 DECEMBER 2020, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK CITY

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1. Wide shot, New York skyline

2 DECEMBER 2020, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Guterres arriving at podium
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We are facing a devastating pandemic, new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.”
4. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back -- and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.”
6. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“2020 is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record globally – even with the cooling effect of this year’s La Nina. The past decade was the hottest in human history. Ocean heat is at record levels. This year, more than 80 per cent of the world’s oceans experienced a marine heatwave.”
8. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We are headed for a thundering temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century. And the science is crystal clear: to limit temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world needs to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6 per cent every year between now and 2030. Instead, the world is going in the opposite direction — planning an annual increase of 2 per cent.”
10. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere. In this context, the recovery from the pandemic is an opportunity. We can see rays of hope in the form of a vaccine. But there is no vaccine for the planet. Nature needs a bailout. In overcoming the pandemic, we can also avert climate cataclysm and restore our planet. This is an epic policy test. But ultimately this is a moral test. The trillions of dollars needed for COVID recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations. Every last penny. We cannot use those resources to lock in policies that burden them with a mountain of debt on a broken planet. It is time to flick the “green switch”. We have a chance to not simply reset the world economy but to transform it.”
12. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“We face three imperatives in addressing the climate crisis: First, we need to achieve global carbon neutrality within the next three decades. Second, we have to align global finance behind the Paris Agreement, the world’s blueprint for climate action. And third, we must deliver a breakthrough on adaptation to protect the world – and especially the most vulnerable people and countries -- from climate impacts.”
14. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“The central objective of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a truly Global Coalition for Carbon Neutrality. I firmly believe that 2021 can be a new kind of leap year — the year of a quantum leap towards carbon neutrality. Every country, city, financial institution and company should adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050 -- and I encourage the main emitters to lead the way in taking decisive action now to get on the right path towards achieving this vision, which means cutting global emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.”
16. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“It is time: To put a price on carbon. To phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies. To stop building new coal power plants -- and halt coal power financing domestically and overseas. To shift the tax burden from income to carbon, and from taxpayers to polluters. To integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions. And to make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory.”
18. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Next year, in short, gives us a wealth of opportunities to stop the plunder and start the healing. One of our best allies is nature itself. Drastically reducing deforestation and systemically restoring forests and other ecosystems is the single largest nature-based opportunity for climate mitigation. Indeed, nature-based solutions could provide one third of the net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
20. Wide shot, Guterres at podium
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“This is a moment of truth for people and planet alike. COVID and climate have brought us to a threshold. We cannot go back to the old normal of inequality, injustice and heedless dominion over the Earth. Instead we must step towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path. We have a blueprint: the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The door is open; the solutions are there. Now is the time to transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world – and with each other. And we must do so together. Solidarity is humanity. Solidarity is survival.”
22. Wide shot, Guterres going from podium to chairs

STORYLINE:

“The state of the planet is broken,” said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a speech delivered on Wednesday at Columbia University in New York. Guterres described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century,

The landmark address marks the beginning of a month of UN-led climate action, which includes the release of major reports on the global climate and fossil fuel production, culminating in a climate summit on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Guterres began with a litany of the many ways in which nature is reacting, with “growing force and fury”, to humanity’s mishandling of the environment, which has seen a collapse in biodiversity, spreading deserts, and oceans reaching record temperatures.

The link between COVID-19 and man-made climate change was also made plain by the UN chief, who noted that the continued encroachment of people and livestock into animal habitats, risks exposing us to more deadly diseases.

And, whilst the economic slowdown resulting from the pandemic has temporarily slowed emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, levels of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are still rising, with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere at a record high. Despite this worrying trend, fossil fuel production – responsible for a significant proportion of greenhouse gases – is predicted to continue on an upward path.

The appropriate global response, said the Secretary-General, is a transformation of the world economy, flicking the “green switch” and building a sustainable system driven by renewable energy, green jobs and a resilient future.

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere,” Guterres said.

One way to achieve this vision, is by achieving net zero emissions There are encouraging signs on this front, with several developed countries, including the UK, Japan and China, committing to the goal over the next few decades.

“The central objective of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a truly Global Coalition for Carbon Neutrality. I firmly believe that 2021 can be a new kind of leap year — the year of a quantum leap towards carbon neutrality,” he said.

Guterres called on all countries, cities and businesses to target 2050 as the date by which they achieve carbon neutrality – to at least halt national increases in emissions - and for all individuals to do their part.

With the cost of renewable energy continuing to fall, this transition makes economic sense, and will lead to a net creation of 18 million jobs over the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the UN chief pointed out, the G20, the world’s largest economies, are planning to spend 50 per cent more on sectors linked to fossil fuel production and consumption, than on low-carbon energy.

It is time “to put a price on carbon,” Guterres said.

For years, many climate experts and activists have called for the cost of carbon-based pollution to be factored into the price of fossil fuels, a step that Guterres said would provide certainty and confidence for the private and financial sectors.

Companies, he declared, need to adjust their business models, ensuring that finance is directed to the green economy, and pension funds, which manage some USD 32 trillion in assets, need to step and invest in carbon-free portfolios.

Far more money, continued the Secretary-General, needs to be invested in adapting to the changing climate, which is hindering the UN’s work on disaster risk reduction.

The COVID-19 pandemic put paid to many plans, including the UN’s ambitious plan to make 2020 the “super year” for buttressing the natural world. That ambition has now been shifted to 2021 and will involve a number of major climate-related international commitments.

These include the development of a plan to halt the biodiversity crisis; an Oceans Conference to protect marine environments; a global sustainable transport conference; and the first Food Systems Summit, aimed at transforming global food production and consumption.

Guterres ended his speech on a note of hope, amid the prospect of a new, more sustainable world in which mindsets are shifting, to take into account the importance of reducing each individual’s carbon footprint.

Far from looking to return to “normal”, a world of inequality, injustice and “heedless dominion over the Earth”, the next step, said the Secretary-General, should be towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path, and for mankind to rethink our relationship with the natural world – and with each other.

“The door is open; the solutions are there. Now is the time to transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world – and with each other,” the UN Secretary-General said.
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