United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew praise Wednesday for taking what supporters called a “powerful stand” to address the climate crisis. Guterres will reportedly exclude major economies, including the United States, from talking at the upcoming U.N. Climate Action Summit because of their failure to produce appropriately ambitious climate plans and their ongoing support for coal.
“This really is something. Thanks to Antonio Guterres,” tweeted 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben.
Leslie Hook reported at the Financial Times Tuesday on the exclusions, citing a draft schedule of the summit, set take place Monday. Australia, Japan, South Korea, and South Africa will be snubbed over their continued support for coal. Brazil and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have criticized the Paris climate accord, will also be blocked. The Trump White House, which announced its plans to ditch the deal, will also not be afforded a speaking slot, Hook reported.
Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at the Australia-based Sunrise Project, framed the move by Guterres as potentially unprecedented.
Clean air campaigner Callum Grieve, in a tweet, suggested it was no surprise. “Did they not get the memo?” he wrote.
Indeed, a FAQ for the summit states:
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Writing for news collaboration Covering Climate Now this week, Mark Hertsgaard also noted that Guterres had laid down the gauntlet to world leaders:
Vox climate writer David Roberts also praised Guterres for the strong move against coal.
“In the endlessly formal, scrupulously polite world of diplomacy, this is a big deal: the U.N. general-secretary is publicly shaming countries that fund new coal plants,” Roberts tweeted. “This kind of social license—or withdrawal of social license—matters!”