In his keynote speech at a high-level climate gathering in Petersberg, Germany on Thursday - six months before world leaders convene in Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 Climate Summit - the UN chief also offered a message of hope, insisting that it was still possible to avert the worst impacts of emissions-fuelled environmental shocks.
“I see encouraging signs from some major economies”, he said.
He referred to countries that represent 73 per cent of emissions having committed to net zero emissions by mid-century.
According to him, all countries – especially in the G20 – need to close the mitigation gap further by COP26.
He highlighted the threat already faced by developing countries, where people are dying, farms are failing and millions face displacement.
"The bottom line is that, by 2030, we must cut global emissions by 45 per cent compared to 2010 levels to get to net zero emissions by 2050. That is how we will keep the hope of 1.5 degrees alive," he said.
The world’s top priority should be to dispense with polluting coal-fired power stations altogether and replace them with renewable energy, the UN Secretary-General maintained.
This should happen by 2030 in the wealthy countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and by 2040 across the globe.