The United Nations says Secretary General Antonio Guterres (pictured) will return to the COP24 conference in Poland today (Wednesday) to press for a “positive” outcome on tackling global warming.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said: “You can certainly expect that the secretary general will do all that he can to encourage the member states in Katowice to move towards a positive outcome.”
He said Guterres’ opening speech in Katowice warned that the world needed to “accelerate the progress in dealing with climate change because we have been moving too slowly”.
Yesterday the UN and the sports sector launched an initiative in Katowice “to drive for emissions reductions of sports operations and engage millions of fans in the efforts”, the UN spokesman said.
Sports produces emissions through travel, energy use, construction of venues, catering and with mountains of single-use plastic.
Yesterday’s initiative included the International Olympic Committee (IOC), football’s Fifa, the French tennis federation and English vegan eco-club Forest Green Rovers.
Forest Green has been recognised by Fifa as the world’s greenest football club, bringing together the game and environmental consciousness. The fourth-tier minnows have a fully organic pitch, vegan matchday menu, solar panels and electric vehicle charge points.
The wider sports sector said it accepted its responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, limiting global average temperature rise to 2°C and to strive for a 1.5°C target. Sports for Climate Action now invites other sports organisations, governing bodies, leagues and clubs to sign up to principles to create a net-zero emissions economy of 2050.
The IOC and UN Climate Change are already cooperating in the production of a climate action guide, “Sustainability Essentials: Sports for Climate Action”, for use by sports federations and others, which was released at the event.
“Our commitment to protecting our climate remains unwavering. We recognise the critical need for everyone to help implement the Paris agreement and accelerate the change needed to reach greenhouse-gas emission neutrality in the second half of the 21st century,” said Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura.
The initiative said sport recognised its unique ability to inform and mobilise millions around a love of contests and admiration for their sporting heroes.
European football governing body Uefa President Aleksander Čeferin said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet. Uefa firmly believes that football, with its strong and ever-growing environmental conscience, in particular in areas such as sustainable event management, has a duty to play a role in addressing this issue. This is why we are happy to have the opportunity to sign the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework.”
Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Picture credit: Wikimedia