UN Secretary General Calls for Immediate Action on Net Zero

António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, called for “sustained and immediate” action on net zero while addressing around 200 cement and concrete industry leaders at the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s CEO Gathering and Leaders Conference in Zurich.

He told attendees that concrete is “fundamental to building a better world … and we have no time to lose, if we are to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade.”

“Science tells us that requires cutting global greenhouse emissions by almost half by 2030,” Guterres continued. “That means taking a quantum leap in climate action – and slashing global emissions. Starting now.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres

He set out three goals for the industry: ending the use of coal-fired power in cement production, working more closely with governments to speed up decarbonization, and setting ambitious emission targets and transition plans, in line with UN guidelines.

“We applaud all the action our members are taking to implement carbon-cutting measures and the latest data shows emissions are coming down. But many challenges remain, which we must overcome, if we are to achieve net zero, including enabling polices and regulations from governments across the world, which often don’t yet exist,” said GCCA CEO Thomas Guillot.

“So today, I urge every manufacturer across the world, who has not yet done so, to join our pledge to eliminate emissions by 2050. But I also implore all governments to work with our essential industry, to deliver the policy framework that can create the favorable conditions to unlock the transition.”

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