Four things the UN chief wants world leaders to know, at key COP24 climate conference opening

UNFCCC Secretariat United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressing the High-Level session of the Katowice Climate Change Conference, COP24, on 3 December 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

During the UN COP24 Climate Change Conference grand opening on Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres told over 150 world leaders gathered for climate action that “we are in deep trouble” and asked decision-makers to focus on four key things: stepping up climate action, according to a solid plan, with more funding, as a smart investment in the future of the planet.

The two-week 24th conference in Katowice, Poland, of the parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), technically started on Sunday, but Monday saw the high-level grand opening. It marks the deadline for the 197 parties that signed the Convention, to adopt guidelines for the implementation of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

In the French capital, three years ago, countries collectively agreed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible, to limit the rise to 1.5°C. Now, in Poland, they have to agree on how they will achieve this collectively. “We cannot fail in Katowice,” said UN chief Guterres.

Kicking off the event, along with several other high-level representatives, he highlighted four key messages for the thousands of representatives of the world’s nations, non-profit organisations, UN agencies, and private sector companies gathered in Katowice.

  1. ‘We need more action and more ambition’

The Secretary-General started by noting that climate change is already “a matter of life and death” for many people, nations and countries of the world, and that the science is telling us we need to move faster.

Citing various alarming UN reports – including one on rising global CO2 emissions and another one on increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere – he called on nations to pay attention to the science and step up their pace as well as their ambitions.

“Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption,” he stated.

“Last year I visited Barbuda and Dominica, which were devastated by hurricanes.  The destruction and suffering I saw was heart-breaking,” he explained, noting that “these emergencies are preventable”.

He called on the international community to work to ensure that emissions must decline by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and be net zero by 2050, and that renewable energy will need to supply half to two-thirds of the world’s primary energy by 2050 with a corresponding reduction in fossil fuels.

“If we fail, the Arctic and Antarctic will continue to melt, corals will bleach and then die, the oceans will rise, more people will die from air pollution, water scarcity will plague a significant proportion of humanity, and the cost of disasters will skyrocket”, he warned the delegates ahead of their negotiations:.

  1. Implementation guidelines are essential to build trust among nations

Stating that “we have no time for limitless negotiations”, the Secretary-General insisted on the need to operationalise the Paris Agreement, and reminded Member States that 2018 is the deadline that they set for themselves to finalise the guidelines for implementation.

“We need a unifying implementation vision that sets out clear rules, inspires action and promotes raised ambition, based on the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances”, said the UN chief.

“We achieved success in Paris because negotiators were working towards a common goal,” he added as he implored the delegated to maintain the same spirit of urgent collaboration to “ensure that the bonds of trust established in Paris will endure.”

  1. Adequate funding of climate action will be ‘central’

“We need concerted resource mobilization and investment to successfully combat climate change,” the Secretary-General told the delegates attending the COP24 grand opening, noting that three quarters of the infrastructure needed by 2050 for climate action still remains to be built.

He insisted on the need to focus efforts on five key economic areas: energy, cities, land use, water and industry.

“Governments and investors need to bet on the green economy, not the grey,” he explained, stressing the need to embrace carbon pricing (i.e. charging emitters of CO2 for their emissions), eliminate harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and invest in clean technologies.

“It also means providing a fair transition for those workers in traditional sectors that face disruption, including through retraining and social safety nets,” he noted, adding that “we also have a collective responsibility to assist the most vulnerable communities and countries – such as small island nations and the least developed countries – by supporting adaptation and resilience.”

In 2015, a total of 18 high-income nations committed to providing US$100 billion dollars a year, by 2020, to lower-income nations to support their climate action. Mr. Guterres urged developed nations to deliver on this commitment.

He also urged Member States “to swiftly implement the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund. It is an investment in a safer, less costly future”.

  1. ‘Climate action makes social and economic sense.’

“All too often, climate action is seen as a burden,” said the UN secretary-General, as he explained that “decisive climate action today is our chance to right our ship and set a course for a better future for all”.

The UN chief commended cities, regions, civil society and the business community around the world for moving ahead. “What we need is political more will and more far-sighted leadership. This is the challenge on which this generation’s leaders will be judged.

According to the recent New Climate Economy report, “ambitious climate action could yield 65 million jobs and a direct economic gain of $26 trillion US dollars compared to business as usual over the next 12 years”.

The UN chief stressed the need to ensure that this economic transformation is led with a commitment to gender equality, and the inclusion of youth.

“We must start today building the tomorrow we want,” the Secretary-General said.

‘Audacity’ and ‘five times more ambition’ needed

Echoing the UN Secretary-General’s remarks, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, who presided over COP23 called on the world to deliver “five times more ambition, five times more action” and avoid “becoming the generation that betrayed humanity.”

The President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, called for “audacity” in climate action and noted that multilateralism is the only way to reverse the negative effects of global warming.

As for the President of this COP, Michał Kurtyka, referring to the mining past of Katowice, he invited the delegates to “pursue a path of deep but just transition” when bringing the Paris agreement to life. Earlier, the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, presented a “Declaration for a Just Transition,”

During the grand opening, the World Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgiewa, also announced that the World Bank would double the world’s commitment to climate action after 2020 by allocating $100 billion, half of which would be dedicated specifically to climate adaptation and resilience.

The event closed with an address by the world’s people delivered by world renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The statement was inspired by thousands of messages posted by individuals on social media over the past weeks, urging world leaders for climate action.

“Their message is clear: time is running out. They want you, the decision makers to act now. They’re behind you, along with the civil society represented here today,” he said.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

‘Bring to life’ precious moments caught on film or tape, UN agency urges on World Day

Adjust UN force in Abyei to current realities, peacekeeping chief urges Security Council

Protectionism doesn’t stand a chance in the age of connectivity

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

Who are the winners and losers in Africa’s Continental Free Trade area?

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

New EU rules cut red tape for citizens living or working in another Member State as of tomorrow

More answers from Facebook ahead of Parliament hearing today

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

Somalia has ‘once in a generation’ gender equality opportunity – UN Women chief

MWC 2016 LIVE: Industry looks to reduce mobile gender gap

EU27 leaders unite on Brexit Guidelines ahead of “tough negotiations” with Theresa May

“Prevention is better than cure”: the main goal of modern medicine

Yemen: Committee brings warring parties to the table in Hudaydah, builds on ceasefire

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

Italy and Greece zeroed their fiscal deficits, expect Germany’s response

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

EU Budget 2019: MEPs increase funding on youth, migration and research

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

Davos: Why the global elites couldn’t find answers this year?

Eurogroup president swallows statement on savings confiscation

Why protectionism spells trouble for global economic growth

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

EU prepares for the worst case scenario as Turkey seems to be withdrawing from the migration deal

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

Nokia wins Commission’s approval for Alcatel-Lucent acquisition: a new way for antitrust cases?

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

The 5 stages of acceptance as robots enter the workforce

UN chief welcomes ‘first concrete step’ in normalizing Eritrea-Ethiopia relationship

It’s down to cities to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030

France, Germany challenge Trump’s America on Iran and the reign of the dollar

Three myths keeping government procurement stuck in the past

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Australia needs to intensify efforts to meet its 2030 emissions goal

Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

How Asia could be the winner in the US and China’s Belt and Road race

Better care, stronger laws needed to save 30 million babies on the brink of death

Trump’s pounding of Iran less harsh than expected, leaves arrangement open

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Have we reached peak smartphone?

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

Living to 100: why we should plan for more sushi, chocolate and work

These companies can recycle nearly anything, from cigarette butts to fax machines

Businesses succeed internationally

Germany not famous for easy way outs from political stalemates

It’s time to fulfil the promises made to women 25 years ago

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s