Too Many Leaders ‘on the Fence’, Secretary-General Tells ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent’ Closing Session, Stressing Need for Bold Action to Address Climate Change

5 May 2014
SG/SM/15822-ENV/DEV/1428

Too Many Leaders ‘on the Fence’, Secretary-General Tells ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent’ Closing Session, Stressing Need for Bold Action to Address Climate Change

5 May 2014
Secretary-General
SG/SM/15822 ENV/DEV/1428
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Too Many Leaders ‘on the Fence’, Secretary-General Tells ‘ Abu Dhabi Ascent’

 

Closing Session, Stressing Need for Bold Action to Address Climate Change

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the closing plenary of the “Abu Dhabi Ascent”, in Abu Dhabi today:

We have had a busy two days.  They have been informative and inspiring.  I thank you all for engaging.  Now the hard work begins.  In the coming months, I will count on the wisdom and initiative of all actors.

Those who are prepared to lead can expect considerable returns.  The business opportunities of the low-carbon economy are great.  The social and environmental benefits for countries in all regions are yet to be realized.  Now is the time for visionaries and those who are prepared to act to step forward.  I am urging all to raise the level of ambition.  Governments have to lead.  But, business and finance, voters and consumers have a significant role to play.

Climate change is an issue for all.  I need you all to help us push back against sceptics and entrenched interests.  I need you to help craft the political arguments that will persuade leaders and policymakers in all areas of government that now is the time for bold action.  Too many are sitting on the fence, waiting for others to lead.  And I need you to build the new alliances that will move climate action from the marketplace of ideas to the commercial marketplace.

Change is in the air.  I challenge you to be part of that change — to be at the head of the race.  Any Government or major business that doesn’t have a climate strategy is in trouble.  Don’t get left behind.  Don’t be on the losing side of history.

My message for today is clear and simple.  Take inspiration from what you have learned at the “Abu Dhabi Ascent”, so we can continue to climb.  Develop your own action portfolios.  Build action coalitions based on concrete deliverables.  Empower and motivate your national leaders to bring bold announcements to the climate summit in September.  That is how we will support progress at the climate talks in Lima this year so we may have a meaningful agreement in Paris in 2015.

Let us work together to mobilize the political will to make climate change a top priority for all leaders — at home and in the global arena.  Tell them solutions exist.  The race is on.  It’s time to lead.

Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.