UN Climate Change News, 26 April 2021 – In remarks at the opening of the 2-day Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted by the United States last week, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called on leaders everywhere to take urgent climate action. “Mother Nature is not waiting, he said. “We need a green planet — but the world is on red alert.”
The UN Chief called on the international community to make this “a decade of transformation,” starting by building a global coalition for net-zero emissions by mid-century to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. “Young people are pushing their elders to do what is right,” he said.
The next step in the right direction, he urged, is for all countries – starting with major emitters – to submit new and more ambitious climate action plans - Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - under the Paris Agreement.
He called for concrete proposals that ease access to greater finance and technological support for the most vulnerable countries to be on the table before the crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November.
Reacting to the Summit, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, said: “The global climate change emergency is a clear, present and growing danger to all people on this planet. It recognizes no borders and while nations may be impacted differently, none are immune. This is a time for leadership, courage and solidarity by global leaders; a time they must make the tough decisions necessary to finally fulfill the promises of the Paris Agreement and move the world away from disaster and towards an unprecedented era of growth, prosperity and hope for all.”
“This Summit, hosted by U.S. President Biden, which brought together more than 40 nations representing 80% of global emissions, is an encouraging and positive step in the right direction. We congratulate the commitments shown by several nations at the summit and I urge all nations to carry forth this leadership and momentum to the crucial COP26 negotiations scheduled for this November in Glasgow.”
The United States submitted their new NDC at the Summit, with a target to achieve a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. And the United States presented a plan to double, by 2024, their annual public climate finance to developing countries relative to the average level during the second half of the Obama-Biden Administration.
At the Leaders' Summit, the US also announced it is resuming and strengthening its commitment to the United Nations Foundation’s Clean Cooking Alliance. The pledge includes support to help countries achieve their climate ambitions through expanding access to clean cooking. Approximately 2.8 billion people still lack access to clean cooking solutions, costing trillions of dollars a year in damage to health, the climate, and local economies.
See: LEADERS' SUMMIT ON CLIMATE SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS by the White House.
Read more about the Leaders’ Summit, Earth Day and International Mother Earth Day here, and read the full statement made at the opening of the Summit by António Guterres here.
Statement by the UN Secretary-General at the conclusion of the opening session of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate summing up key outcomes:
The Secretary-General thanks President Biden for convening today’s Leaders’ Summit. The commitments and actions announced, provide a much-needed boost to our collective efforts to address the climate crisis ahead of COP 26 in November in Glasgow.
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of new and enhanced national determined contributions including by the United States of America, Canada, and Japan, the commitment of Brazil to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as the announcement by the Republic of Korea that it will end all external financing of coal and submit a more ambitious NDC this year. The leadership of all major emitters will be critical to securing success at Glasgow. It is now urgent that all countries – especially other major emitters – present their 2030 climate plans well before COP 26.
The upcoming Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals Summit and the Summit of G7 Leaders will be crucial moments for leaders to deliver vital climate finance commitments especially on the US$100 billion goal in support of developing countries climate action promised over a decade ago. The world will be watching carefully, particularly those already experiencing severe climate impacts and an ongoing economic crisis. Delivering on finance and adaptation is a prerequisite for success, and the Secretary-General is encouraged by the announcements made today by President Biden.
Today’s Summit shows the tide is turning for climate action, but there is still a long way to go. To avert a permanent climate catastrophe, we must now urgently build on the momentum delivered today, in this make-or-break year for people and planet.
The Secretary-General looks forward to convening leaders in September to make that final push towards COP 26.
New global coalition to protect tropical forests announced at the Summit
Also at the Summit yon 23 April, a group of governments and companies announced the LEAF Coalition, an ambitious new global initiative designed to accelerate climate action by raising at least $1 billion to protect the world’s rainforests.
Date：April 26, 2021