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UNGA: Urgent Call to Action as Major Polluters Stay Silent


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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has issued a stark warning about the consequences of humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels.

He described it as having “opened the gates to hell” during the Climate Ambition Summit, where notable absentees included China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and India. Despite increasing global temperatures and extreme weather events, greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise, while oil and gas companies continue to profit.


Guterres’s Climate Ambition Summit


Antonio Guterres organized the Climate Ambition Summit as a “no-nonsense” forum, demanding specific actions from world leaders or cabinet ministers to fulfill their commitments under the Paris Agreement. He highlighted the alarming impact of the climate crisis, such as “horrendous heat” and “historic fires” in 2023, emphasizing that the future remains unwritten. Leaders were challenged to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold to avoid long-term climate catastrophe.


Strict Criteria for Participation


Only leaders with concrete plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions were allowed to speak at the summit. Among more than 100 applicants, the UN selected 41 speakers, notably excluding China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and India. This absence of leaders from major economies and top emitters could significantly affect the summit’s outcomes.


Reasons Behind the Absence


Several factors contributed to leaders skipping the summit, including conflicts like the Ukraine crisis, US-China tensions, and economic uncertainty. Additionally, the fossil fuel industry’s formidable lobbying power played a role in leaders’ decisions. Even though the United States made historic investments in renewables, it continued to expand fossil fuel projects. This led to concerns about leaders using such summits to claim climate leadership while pursuing fossil fuel development domestically.



The UN Climate Ambition Summit serves as a critical platform for addressing the climate crisis and holding leaders accountable for their commitments. However, the absence of key leaders from major economies raises concerns about the summit’s effectiveness. To combat climate change effectively, global leaders must prioritize concrete actions and align their policies with their climate goals, focusing on reducing emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources. The future of the planet depends on their collective efforts to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.

Zain Saleem
Zain Saleem
Zain Saleem is an Islamabad-based Senior Journalist

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