United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the urgency of a green recovery in a speech on December 2, 2020. In his address at Columbia University in New York, he painted a bleak picture of the state of the planet, pointing to the concerning results of the provisional State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization. Guterres underlined that the funds needed for a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be spent wisely:
“We have a chance to not simply reset the world economy but to transform it. A sustainable economy driven by renewable energies will create new jobs, cleaner infrastructure and a resilient future. An inclusive world will help ensure that people can enjoy better health and the full respect of their human rights, and live with dignity on a healthy planet. COVID recovery and our planet’s repair must be the two sides of the same coin.”
The Secretary-General urged decision-makers around the world to push for carbon neutrality, align global finance behind the Paris Agreement, and invest in climate adaptation and resilience. He also pointed to the importance of protecting the world’s biodiversity and the potential of nature-based solutions for tackling the climate crisis and creating jobs.