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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Yemen: 11 more ‘terrible, senseless’ civilian deaths reported, following attack in Sana’a – top UN official

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Theresa May expresses her optimism about Britain’s economic success while UK business outlook seems ominous

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

We need a new Operating System for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

European Accessibility Act: Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Lake Chad trees keep deadly drought at bay

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

It’s time to strengthen global digital cooperation

A Sting Exclusive: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on South China Sea issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum

In Rwanda, high-speed drones are delivering blood to remote communities

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Artificial intelligence: Commission takes forward its work on ethics guidelines

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

Your morning cup of coffee contains 140 litres of water

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

Marco Polo’s Dream

5 surprising ways to reuse coffee grounds

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

From Shadows to Sunlight, Paraguay’s Road to Transparency

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

6 young leaders who are improving the state of the world on International Youth Day

Main results of EU-Japan summit which took place on 25/04/2019 in Brussels

These are the world’s most positive countries

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to put words into action

How music can help children with autism connect

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

EU-UK: A deal synonymous to ‘remain’, England pays the Irish price

More refugees being helped by family, work and study permits, finds OECD and UNHCR study

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

5 charts that explain big challenges facing Italy’s new government

UN chief welcomes new push by El Salvador’s political parties to begin fresh dialogue

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

US must abide by humanitarian refugee accords: UN refugee agency

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

UN police officer recognized for protecting vulnerable Somali women from abuse

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

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