Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks to One Planet Summit
September 26, 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Summit comes at a crucial time.
Heatwaves, wildfires and extreme flooding have again caused death and distress, as 2018 has become the fifth warmest year on record.
What makes these events even more devastating is that we were warned.
For decades, we have been told that the carbon dioxide that we pump into the atmosphere will change our climate.
We have also been told what this means: rising seas, more floods, worse droughts, and stronger more destructive storms.
When world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, they agreed to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to strive for 1.5 degrees.
These targets were set to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Scientists are now worried that we will miss these targets.
According to a recent UN study, the commitments made by Parties to the Paris Agreement represent only one-third of what is needed.
If we do not reverse the current trend by 2020, it may be impossible to meet the 1.5 degree goal.
This is not a “tomorrow problem”; it is today’s problem.
We need to do more and we need to do it more quickly. We need more ambition and more action between now and 2020.
We have the solutions – the resources and technology. We know what to do.
If we fail to meet this challenge, history will not look kindly on us.
We need a greater sense of urgency.
So, I am encouraged to see so many business and government leaders here today, demonstrating climate leadership.
There are many examples to inspire us.
Mahindra & Mahindra recently announced that it intends to become carbon-neutral by 2040.
Walmart and Unilever will limit deforestation and reduce emissions in their supply chains.
The Dutch Bank, ING, will reduce financing of coal power generation to almost zero by 2025.
The YES Bank in India has committed to mobilize 1 billion dollars by 2023, and 5 billion by 2030, for solar-energy projects.
Google has launched its “Environmental Insights Explorer to map the vital signs of the planet.
Earlier this week, I met with representatives from the oil and gas industries, and welcomed their commitments to work to transform their industries
We need all on board.
We need the business leaders here today to mobilize leaders in other sectors, such as cement and steel, which we know are resource- and energy-intensive.
The recent Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco demonstrated the vast opportunities of climate action.
Today’s Summit can help us to further our collective goal to address climate change.
We must create unstoppable momentum towards COP-24 in Poland in December and the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2019.
These efforts are also essential to demonstrate progress prior to the 2020 UN Oceans Conference in Portugal as well as the critical 2020 climate COP.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The climate action initiatives we see around the world today are inspiring.
But, as the Secretary-General has reminded us: climate change is still moving faster than our response.
This is why he is convening a Climate Summit next year to mobilize ambition, action and finance.
The Climate Summit will target the sectors that create the most emissions, and the areas where building resilience will make the biggest difference.
The Secretary-General will be calling for leadership from countries, cities, businesses and civil society in the run-up to the 2020 climate COP.
The Secretary-General has asked President Macron of France and Prime Minister Holness of Jamaica to spearhead progress on the pledge to mobilize 100 billion dollars a year of climate finance by 2020, through a combination of public and private contributions.
He has also asked Michael Bloomberg, his Special Envoy for Climate Action, to lead a Climate Finance Leadership initiative to support global mobilization of private capital.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This One Planet Summit is an important moment in the lead up to the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.
We must take your momentum to COP-24. This is our next milestone.
We must ensure that the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement are adopted, and we must show the world that leaders remain committed.
We share a collective responsibility to honour the Paris Agreement and reaffirm that multilateralism is how we succeed as a global community.