Secretary-General ahead of Climate Change Conference urges governments to phase out coal, increase nationally determined contributions, and fund adaptation – World
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Here are the remarks of United Nations Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres during the pre-twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Milan, Italy today:
There is only one month left before COP26, the most important climate conference since Paris. It is essential for all of humanity that we keep the promise of the Paris Agreement. This means reducing emissions to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. This means providing $ 100 billion each year to the developing world for climate action. And that means balancing financial support for mitigation and adaptation.
We are not there yet. With respect to mitigation, the current nationally determined contributions will lead to a catastrophic increase in global temperature of 2.7 degrees Celsius. We need more ambition now. I commend those nations, especially vulnerable developing countries, who have offered more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions despite the current COVID-19 crisis. But we can only reach the 1.5-degree target if all G20 countries, which are responsible for 80% of global emissions, commit to taking more decisive action in new or updated contributions to the government. National level.
The principle of common responsibilities but differentiated according to national circumstances is a pillar of the Paris Agreement. But all leaders must recognize that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. Developed economies must take the lead. But all have a crucial role to play. I also call on emerging economies to take a further step and further reduce their emissions. We are all in the same boat and we have to pull ourselves together. That is why I call on all nations to strengthen Nationally Determined Contributions and National Policies as often as necessary and without delay until we are collectively on the right track.
I cannot stress enough that time is running out. Irreversible climatic tipping points lie at an alarming distance. Civil society is watching closely and growing impatient. The most effective measure we can take to limit the rise in temperature is the phase-out of coal, starting with no new coal-fired power plants. We have come a long way in the past year. But we still have a long way to go to phase out domestic coal by 2030 in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and by 2040 in the rest of the world.
I welcome China’s most recent announcement on ending international financing of coal-fired electricity. I am now calling on private finance, from commercial banks to asset managers, including many in the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific, to quickly follow suit and stop funding coal. And I call for coalitions of governments and public and private financial institutions to unite to scale up existing financial mechanisms to phase out coal and fund a just transition to universal access to renewable energy.
Let me now turn to finance. We all know what to do. Developed countries have a responsibility to increase their individual commitments and honor their collective commitment to deliver the $ 100 billion pledged per year. It is an essential question of trust. According to the OECD, the gap still stands at $ 20 billion. And the $ 100 billion is, of course, just a down payment on what is needed to finance mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
At COP26, Parties will also need to agree on a process to start work on the post-2025 goal. I appreciate the recent announcements from a number of developed countries, but I stress that commitments must be backed by concrete actions and results.
Now let’s move on to adaptation. The Paris Agreement says: âThe provision of increased financial resources should aim to strike a balance between adaptation and mitigationâ. Six years later, we are far from home. Adaptation remains the neglected half of the climate equation, accounting for only 25 percent of climate finance to developing countries. Worse yet, adaptation only accounts for 0.1% of private funding. So today I reiterate my call on donors and multilateral development banks to devote at least 50% of their climate support to adaptation and resilience.
Adaptation needs increase every year. Developing countries already need $ 70 billion for adaptation, and that number could more than quadruple to $ 300 billion per year by the end of this decade. Failure to deliver means massive loss of life and livelihood. Developing countries must have access to adequate and predictable financing. I thank Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands for pledging at least 50% of their climate finance to adaptation. Now I urge other donors, starting with the multilateral development banks, to follow suit, with leadership at the highest level.
Time is running out and thunderstorm clouds continue to accumulate. Failure remains a possibility, but one that we cannot, must not accept. It is essential that countries come together again in the run-up to COP26 to restore confidence, re-energize action and restore the spirit of Paris. Young people, in particular, continue to lead the growing calls for more ambition. They will hold us accountable. Climate justice demands that we bequeath them a livable planet.
At this year’s General Assembly, I hosted a leaders’ dialogue with the Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson from the UK. The discussion was frank and open. Leaders are committed to how to move forward together. I hope to see this spirit reflected at this Pre-COP and at COP26. Collaboration and compromise will be necessary.
In addition to progress on the three pillars of mitigation, finance and adaptation, we need to finalize negotiations on the Paris settlement – notably to break the deadlock on Article 6 on carbon markets and the transparency framework. We have a few days here in Milan and a month of work in Glasgow. I urge everyone to use them wisely and productively. Let’s rebuild the confidence necessary to make COP26 a success for all. We have immense power. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future. We must have a long-term vision – and high morality – so that this generation and future generations can hope for peace, opportunity and dignity for all on a healthy planet. Thank you and I wish this Pre-COP the best of success.