UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep dissatisfaction with the efforts of wealthy nations to combat climate change.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, Guterres stated that humanity has "opened the gates of hell" by allowing the climate crisis to spiral out of control.
Guterres emphasized the need to catch up on lost time due to hesitation, arm-twisting, and greed from entrenched interests profiting from fossil fuels. He criticized certain companies for their "shameful" attempts to obstruct progress.
The meeting, which Guterres described as a climate meeting "without nonsense," did not include speeches from the United States or China, the two largest CO2 emitters, as they are not ambitious enough, according to the UN chief.
He stressed that wealthy nations have an obligation to come as close as possible to zero emissions by 2040.
Guterres noted that a recent UN analysis suggests that achieving this goal currently seems almost impossible. He expressed that many of the poorest countries have the right to be angry for suffering from a climate crisis they did not create and for promised financing that has not materialized.
Guterres' comments were partly overshadowed by the UK's announcement that it is rolling back several policies aimed at achieving zero emissions.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promoted the country's two-billion-euro fund aimed at financing climate actions in developing countries.
Despite efforts like these, it is not enough to stay below the maximum global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees, considered essential to avoid a climate catastrophe.
David Waskow from the global research NGO World Resources Institute commented that the small steps some countries are offering are like "putting out an inferno with a leaky hose."