The world must finally think long term – UN chief for the environment

Oct. 5 (Reuters) – Getting the financial sector to think longer term is key to tackling the climate crisis, said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, on Tuesday.

“We can cut the proverbial forest and have a great quarterly return. We can fish the proverbial empty oceans and have a great quarterly return. But we have to think long term,” Andersen said in an interview with the Reuters Impact conference.

She said the only way to eradicate poverty and create healthy economies was to resolve the “three planetary crises” – climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution and waste.

“Let me be absolutely clear: the loss of biodiversity means the loss of the planet’s ability to support us,” she said.

“When you lose species – and we’re on the verge of losing a million of the 7.8 or so species that we have on the planet if we continue on the current path – if you remove these things, the ecosystem cannot continue. “

Inger Andersen, (R), World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, makes remarks as Shanta Devarajan, (L), the World Bank’s chief economist for the MENA region and Communications Officer Heba Shams listen as she discusses political and economic turmoil in the region at a press conference at the 2013 Fall Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank, in Washington , October 10, 2013. REUTERS / Mike Theiler

With less than a month to go before the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Andersen said it was “totally unacceptable” to see little progress in more than a quarter of a century of deliberations global climate change.

She called on COP26 to harmonize the rules of global carbon markets – a very controversial issue – and to set a price for carbon emissions that takes into account their full environmental impact.

A global carbon market with proper oversight would be an important tool in tackling climate change, said Andersen, who has led UNEP since 2019.

“Carbon is way too cheap right now, it’s ridiculous.”

She said she hoped COP26 would make progress in funding adaptation and mitigation measures for those most affected by climate change – mainly countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. .

“The poorest countries are going to be hit hard and need to put adaptation finance in place.

Reporting by Andrea Januta; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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