UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, today called on all governments to come forward with significantly more ambitious nationally determined contributions by the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, at the latest, with 2030 targets consistent with a net-zero pathway.
During a briefing to the Member States, Mr. Guterres cited an exponential growth of the global coalition for net-zero emissions as a ‘central objective for the United Nations this year.’
Despite the current ‘meaningful momentum’ in tackling the climate crisis – which includes countries representing the current 70% of the world economy and 65%of global carbon dioxide emissions have now committed to net-zero – the UN Chief said this was not enough, with the world still way off target in keeping the global temperature rise to within the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement.
The drive for net-zero emissions, he said, must become ‘the new normal for everyone, everywhere – every country, company, city and financial institution, as well as key sectors such as aviation, shipping, industry, and agriculture,’ adding that all commitments to net zero must be underpinned by clear and credible plans to achieve them, with major economies and members of the G20 leading the way.
In this regard, he cited the phasing out of coal by 2030 in OECD countries and by 2040 in all other countries is crucial to achieving net-zero emissions. He also stressed the need for developing countries, particularly the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, to receive the necessary support to enhance their climate ambition.
Building resilience to the impacts of climate change
Highlighting the worsening climate impacts around the world, including the two devastating cyclones that have struck Fiji and other Pacific islands in the space of a few weeks, Mr. Guterres also called for a breakthrough on adapting and building resilience to the effects of climate change, which is a further priority for the United Nations this year.
Welcoming the commitment by the Netherlands at the recent Climate Adaptation Summit as well as the steps taken by the African Development Bank and the World Bank, he called on all donors and the Multilateral Development Banks to increase the share of adaptation and resilience finance to at least 50% of their climate finance support.
Increasing climate support for the most vulnerable
With climate finance flowing to LDCs and SIDS currently standing at 14% and 2%, respectively, Mr. Guterres spoke of a ‘moral obligation to do much better’ in supporting the most vulnerable countries in taking climate action. He urged developed countries – particularly G7 countries – to meet their commitment made over ten years ago to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance in developing countries, adding that this must be fully delivered in the run-up to COP26.
Looking ahead to COP26, Mr. Guterres said: ‘I cannot overestimate the importance of the negotiations in the months ahead of Glasgow,’ and that the clear message to governments must be: ‘It is time to wrap up negotiations and move towards its full implementation,’ adding that ‘For everyone to win, everyone must be ready to make compromises.’
See the full remarks:
We are nine months away from COP26, a critical milestone in our efforts to avert climate catastrophe.
I am pleased that the incoming COP President is here to discuss with you the road to Glasgow.
The past year has seen welcome progress.
I thank those who showed leadership by announcing bold new commitments at the Climate Ambition Summit I convened with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of France in December.
Countries representing 70 percent of the world economy and 65 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions have now committed to net zero.
Two weeks ago, I met with Chief Executive Officers of the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance, a coalition representing over $5 trillion. They have committed to double the size of this group by COP 26.
This is meaningful momentum.
But it is not enough. The world remains way off target in staying within the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement.
This is why we need much more ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation, and ambition on finance.
The global coalition for net-zero emissions needs to grow exponentially. This is a central objective for the United Nations this year.
The drive for net-zero emissions must become the new normal for everyone, everywhere – every country, company, city, and financial institution, as well as key sectors such as aviation, shipping, industry, and agriculture.
At the same time, all commitments to net zero must be underpinned by clear and credible plans to achieve them.
Words are not enough.
By COP26 at the latest, all countries need to come forward with significantly more ambitious nationally determined contributions, with 2030 targets consistent with a net-zero pathway.
The major economies and members of the G20 must lead the way.
Developing countries, particularly the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, must be given the support they need to enhance their climate ambition.
The science and the economics are clear.
Coal must be phased out by 2030 in OECD countries, and by 2040 in all other countries, in conjunction with a just transition.
Investments in coal are a losing proposition.
Financing for coal and other fossil fuels abroad must stop and be redirected towards the clean energy transition.
Climate impacts in every region and on every continent are worsening.
In the space of a few weeks, Fiji and other Pacific islands have been struck by two devastating cyclones.
We need a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience — and this is also a priority for the United Nations this year.
All donors and the Multilateral Development Banks must increase the share of adaptation and resilience finance to at least 50 percent of their climate finance support.
I welcome the commitment by the Netherlands at the recent Climate Adaptation Summit as well as the steps taken by the African Development Bank and the World Bank. But we need much more.
We must also ensure simplified and expedited climate support for the most vulnerable.
Climate finance flowing to LDCs and SIDS stands at 14 percent and 2 percent, respectively. We have a moral obligation to do much better with new and scaled up finance initiatives and instruments.
Developed countries must meet their commitment made over ten years ago to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance in developing countries. This must be fully delivered in the run-up to COP26.
The report I issued last December contained a number of recommendations on how to get there.
I count in particular on G7 countries to deliver.
The Green Climate Fund must be fully capitalized.
We need all Multilateral and National Development Banks to commit to full Paris alignment by 2024 at the latest.
And we need to effectively address debt relief efforts to provide liquidity to countries most vulnerable to climate change.
I cannot overestimate the importance of the negotiations in the months ahead of Glasgow.
Because of COVID-19, it is unlikely that the usual schedule of meetings will happen in-person.
Preparatory negotiations for COP26 will need to take place virtually.
But with your flexibility and with the creative guidance of the COP President and Ms. Espinosa, our Executive Secretary, we can conduct our business in an inclusive and transparent manner.
We simply cannot allow the pandemic to keep us from working together on the crucial pathway to Glasgow.
Although there will be challenges, we must adapt. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.
I have directed UN officials around the world to make offices and venues available to allow for all countries to participate in virtual negotiations.
We will support this process in every way possible to ensure its success.
We must send a clear message to the Parties: it is time to wrap up negotiations and move towards its full implementation.
This means bridging the current political divide over outstanding issues related to finance, capacity building, technology transfer, transparency, and especially Article Six.
For everyone to win, everyone must be ready to make compromises.
Global markets have long demanded clarity from governments on establishing a policy foundation for an emissions trading system that maintains environmental integrity and puts a global price on carbon.
This issue cannot continue to be deferred, COP after COP after COP. We need a political decision.
Finally, a successful COP26 means positive engagement of observers and other non-Party stakeholders, including key NGO constituencies, including youth, women, and indigenous peoples.
We need every voice at the table. As we collectively address our climate emergency, no voice, and no solution, should be left behind.
2021 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change.
I look to all Member States to work together to build on the momentum that has been generated and to fully support the COP26 Presidency on the road to Glasgow.