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Overconsumption created three-fold planetary emergency of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution: UN chief

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Kevadia (Guj): United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said overconsumption has resulted in a three-fold planetary emergency of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and called for the need to treat the earth’s resources judiciously and respectfully.

Guterres, who jointly launched Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, lamented that in the current times, greed was prevailing over need, and urged people to adopt a sustainable way of living.

“In this perilous time, we need all hands on deck. There is no greater challenge than climate change. Overconsumption has resulted in a three-fold planetary emergency of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” he said.

“We are using the equivalent of 1.6 planet earths to maintain our lifestyles. That great access is compounded by great inequality. The combined greenhouse gas emission of the richest one per cent is more than twice of the poorest 50 per cent,” he said.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Guterres said, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs but not everyone’s greed…Unfortunately in recent times, greed is prevailing over need and we need to reverse it.”

“Each one of us has to learn to live sustainably and reduce our environmental footprint,” he said.

He expressed hope that the initiatives of the LiFE movement spread throughout the world.

“I am immensely encouraged by the commitment that India has made to pursue environmentally sound policies and its pledge to significantly increase investment in renewable energy, championing International Solar Alliance…..we need to unleash the renewable revolution and I look forward to working with India in driving this agenda forward,” the UN chief said.

In a few weeks’ time, world leaders will meet for COP 27 in Egypt. COP 27 will present a key political opportunity to renew trusts and accelerate actions on all pillars of Paris climate agreement, he added.

Guterres noted that with its vulnerability to climate impacts and its massive economy, India can play a critical bridging role.

“We must treat the earth’s resources with wisdom and respect,” he said while pledging to alter the economies and lifestyles so that people are able to share earth’s resources fairly and only take what they need.

He also urged everyone to count on India as it assumes G20 Presidency to help usher in a new era of sustainability, fully in line with its history, culture and tradition.

Guterres earlier held a bilateral meeting with PM Modi. He also offered floral tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the ‘Statue of Unity’ at the venue.

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