UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls on all developed economies to tax profits from fossil fuels and dedicate the funds both to compensate for damage from climate crisis and to help people struggling with high prices.
The United Nations' massive global summit has returned with a stark warning from the world body's chief of an upcoming "winter of global discontent" from rising prices, a warming planet and deadly conflicts.
After two years of pandemic restrictions and video addresses, the UN General Assembly again asked leaders to come in person if they wish to speak - with a sole exception made for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, while saluting efforts for global cooperation, warned of a dire state of the planet on Tuesday.
"A winter of global discontent is on the horizon," Guterres said as he opened the annual General Assembly.
"Trust is crumbling, inequalities are exploding, our planet is burning. People are hurting - with the most vulnerable suffering the most."
With global temperatures rising and a chunk of Pakistan the size of the United Kingdom recently under water, Guterres lashed out at fossil fuel companies and the "suicidal war against nature."
"Let's tell it like it is - our world is addicted to fossil fuels. It's time for an intervention. We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account," Guterres said.
He called on all developed economies to tax profits from fossil fuels and dedicate the funds both to compensate for damage from climate change and to help people struggling with high prices.
"Polluters must pay," Guterres said.
Ukraine and Russian Federation, with support of Türkiye, came together to make grain deal happen; some might call it "a miracle on the sea" – UN chief Antonio Guterres pic.twitter.com/ICe4r2ikYa— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 20, 2022
Ukraine in focus
The summit was disrupted after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with President Joe Biden of the United States, by tradition the second speaker on the opening day, instead due to speak on Wednesday.
Day one features Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has staked out ground as a broker between Russia and Ukraine, including through a deal to ship out badly needed grain to the world.
Erdogan is also expected to meet in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, as the two countries take steps for normalisation and revitalisation of ties after years.
"This year, Ukraine will be very high on the agenda. It will be unavoidable," top EU diplomat Josep Borrell told reporters in New York.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was visiting despite a hostile reaction from the United States.
With the Ukraine war leading to a global grain crisis, hunger is another major issue on the agenda. More than 200 NGOs called for urgent action from leaders gathered for the General Assembly to "end the spiraling global hunger crisis."