UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on world leaders Monday for concrete and realistic plans to raise their contributions toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
His remarks came at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York where leaders from governments, business and civic activist groups gathered to tackle the issue of climate change.
"Nature is angry. And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature, because nature always strikes back, and around the world nature is striking back with fury."
Praising the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming, Guterres called for no new coal plants to be built after 2020 and pressed for a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has scrapped regulations aimed at combating climate change and once called man-made climate change "a Chinese hoax", stopped by with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
There were no remarks from Trump and he left after listening to remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a video message, Pope Francis called for the need to ramp up efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and face what he described as "one of the most serious and worrying phenomena of our time".
Other leaders, including Merkel, promised to expand their countries' contribution to combat climate change.
Among them was South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has made three pledges to combat the issue.
"First, we will explore a variety of measures for the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy at the earliest possible date, including the formulation of a South Korean-model of sustainable development goals."
President Moon also called for efforts to clean up the atmosphere.
"I propose the designation of an "International Day for Blue Sky." In order to improve air quality, cross-border cooperation and joint responses are required, including joint research and technological support."
Other than those remarks, President Moon promised South Korea will expand its role to tackle climate change, such as doubling its contribution to the Green Climate Fund and hosting a P4G summit in South Korea.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.