UN Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at the COP27 UN climate change conference, said that the war in Ukraine and other conflicts should not distract from the climate crisis.
"The war in Ukraine and conflicts in other countries have caused so much bloodshed and violence that it has dramatically affected the whole world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change. Of course, we must work together to support peaceful effort, and then overcome enormous suffering. But climate change is happening on different time frames and at different scales. It is the defining issue of our time," he said.
According to the UN Secretary General, the problem of climate change is the "major challenge" of the 21st century, and to put it on the back burner would be "unacceptable, outrageous and harmful". He noted that most conflicts are related to growing climate challenges. In particular, Guterres noted, the war in Ukraine "showed the deep risks of our dependence on fossil fuels."
He emphasized that the climate crisis cannot be justified by retreat or "green camouflage".
"If such are noticed, there are grounds for greater urgency, more decisive action and responsibility," Guterres concluded.