United Nations chief calls on governments to declare a climate emergency

At the United Nations’ online conference ‘Climate Ambition Summit 2020’, which gathered more than 70 world leaders on 12 December 2020, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres called on all leaders worldwide to declare a climate emergency in their countries:


“Carbon dioxide levels are at record highs.

Today, we are 1.2 degrees hotter than before the industrial revolution.

If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century.

Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?

That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached.

Some 38 countries have already done so, recognizing the urgency and the stakes.

I urge all others to follow.”
~ António Guterres, UN Secretary-General


‘State of Climate Emergency’
UN News reported that “The UN Secretary-General kicked off the summit proceedings with a speech that echoed many of the themes he covered earlier in the month, and declaring a State of Climate Emergency, until carbon neutrality has been reached worldwide. The central objective of the UN in 2021, he said, will be to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.”

“Ending on a positive note, Mr. Guterres noted that more countries are committing to zero emissions, cities are becoming more liveable, and mindsets are shifting in the right way. “Let’s stop” the assault on our planet”, he implored, “and do what we need to guarantee the future of our children and grandchildren”.”

→ You can read the full speech here.


This call needs full support from the climate action movement
“What if we dared to once again imagine the unthinkable: that the entire global climate action movement came together and spoke with ONE loud and clear voice in support of Antonio Guterres’ call here? Spread this message far and wide. Start meetings with Guterres’ short video clip. Send it to people who matter and make decisions,” commented Mik Aidt, director of Centre for Climate Safety and one of the founding members of the climate emergency declaration movement.


“It doesn’t make sense to use taxpayers’ money to ruin the planet. We are close to a point of no return. We need to make sure that we act before that point of no return.”
~ António Guterres, UN Secretary-General





“Dear friends of our planet,

This is a moment of truth. But it is also a moment of hope.

More and more countries have committed to net zero emissions.

The business community is getting on board the sustainability train.

We see cities striving to become greener and more livable.

We see young people taking on responsibility – and demanding it of others.

Mindsets are shifting.

Climate action is the barometer of leadership in today’s world.

It is what people and planet need at this time.

We have the blueprint: the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

But we all need to pass a credibility test: let’s make the promise of a net zero world a reality now.”
~ António Guterres, UN Secretary-General


Climate Ambition Summit

→ Streaming of the 6-hour summit on Facebook

→ Watch Climate Ambition Summit 2020 video recordings:
Leader statements
Calls to action

→ See the full Summit programme








Media coverage

→ The New Daily – 13 December 2020:
UN urges world to declare ‘climate emergency’ as Morrison sidelined at summit
“Declare states of ‘climate emergency’: U.N. chief to world leaders”

→ ABC News – 13 December 2020:
United Nations urges world leaders to declare a state of climate emergency
“World leaders should declare states of “climate emergency” in their countries to spur action to avoid catastrophic global warming, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told a climate summit.”

→ 9News – 13 December 2020:
UN pressure to declare ‘climate emergency’ as Australia’s lack of ambition sees Scott Morrison snubbed at world summit
“The United Nations wants countries to declare a “climate emergency” to lift the sense of urgency in combating global warming.”

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 13 December 2020:
Countries must declare states of ‘climate emergency’: UN chief tells world leaders
“World leaders should declare states of “climate emergency” in their countries to spur action to avoid catastrophic global warming, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in opening remarks to a climate summit on Saturday.”

→ Reuters – 13 December 2020:
U.N. chief urges leaders of every country to declare ‘climate emergency’
“U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on every country to declare a “climate emergency” on Saturday, as world leaders marking the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate accord made mostly incremental pledges relative to the scale of the crisis.”

→ The Guardian – 12 December 2020:
UN secretary general urges all countries to declare climate emergencies“António Guterres tells Climate Ambition Summit more must be done to hit net zero emissions.”

→ Al Jazeera – 12 December 2020:
Declare ‘state of climate emergency’, UN boss urges world leaders
“Antonio Guterres urges countries that already announced net-zero targets to make good on promises at the one-day virtual Climate Ambition Summit.”

→ DW – 12 December 2020:
UN urges world leaders to declare ‘climate emergency’
“United Nations chief Antonio Guterres described the situation as “dramatic” and urged countries to take drastic action. A virtual conference is taking place to mark five years since the Paris climate accord.”

→ The Sustainable Hour podcast – 16 December 2020:
Gamechanger for climate emergency declaration campaign

Gamechanger for climate emergency declaration campaign





Related media coverage

→ Sydney Morning Herald – 14 December 2020:
Ardern and Thunberg in spat over climate emergency declaration
“Wellington: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly rebutted Greta Thunberg after the activist accused New Zealand of not doing enough to deliver on its climate action promises.”

→ Mirage News – 2 December 2020:
Climate emergency declaration put to both houses: Liberals oppose, Labor split
“The Liberals and Labor have combined forces to block a Climate Emergency declaration in Australia, on the day our closest neighbours have declared a climate emergency at their Labour Prime Minister’s request.”




#TogetherForOurPlanet | #ClimateEmergencyDeclaration | #FaceTheClimateEmergency