Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the High-level Stakeholder Dialogue on Climate Change, in New York today:
You are the backbone of the global movement that led to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. In Paris, we rose to a global challenge. Now we have an even bigger challenge: raising ambition and staying on course.
Emissions are going down, but not enough. The temperature is still rising. We see the consequences daily. We count the costs in lives, livelihoods and damaged economies. Since 2008 — you know better than me — some 20 million people a year have been forcibly displaced by floods, storms, fires and extreme temperature. Many more are on the move due to droughts and sea-level rise and climate change is not a distant problem for future generations.
It is here, it is now and we need to deal with it. Governments alone cannot handle the enormity of this challenge, even when they want, which is not always the case. That is why the Paris Pledge for Action attracted more than 1,300 signatures.
We are seeing action around the globe and many examples show it. The shipping industry is working to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint through the Global Industry Alliance. In Kenya, innovative solar “pay as you go” mobile companies are providing affordable energy in rural and remote areas. Similar public-private partnerships are supporting energy-efficient lighting in key urban areas in Egypt. National Centres of excellence on sustainable energy are being established in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the world capital of oil.
Michael Bloomberg, with the Global Covenant of Mayors, and he is here with us, is leading efforts to build resilient cities. I will ask him as my Special Envoy to accelerate and deepen the role of subnational actors in implementing the Paris Agreement in preparation for the 2019 Climate Summit. California is convening a Summit of all non-state actors in 2018.
An increasing number of private companies and businesses are taking the lead in adopting a carbon price. In the transport sector, car manufacturers Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo and many others are going electric. In the tech industry, we see companies like Google and Apple moving towards a target of 100 per cent renewable energy. Institutional investors have committed to climate action. Financial rule-makers, such as central banks and regulators, are responding to the risks and opportunities of climate change.
But, we still have far to go to make climate action a natural part of the global financial system. High-carbon investments are still massive. The commitments made under the Paris Agreement, in the nationally determined contributions, are clearly insufficient.
There is at least a 14 gigaton carbon gap. That is why we are here today. We can change this situation. I am ready to work with all you to help remove barriers to your efforts. Finding out how and where I can help is my central objective in this meeting.
I see three areas of focus. First, growing and deepening your role. Let us think about how all stakeholders’ contribution can be recognized and measured against the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Second, removing barriers to the mobilization of finances and creating bankable projects. Tens of billions of dollars are needed to implement country actions. Neither Governments nor the public financing mechanism can bear the cost. Your contribution is vital.
Third, intensifying efforts in high-impact areas, such as technology, energy transmission, carbon pricing and risk mitigation. In 2019, I intend that the Climate Summit will forge even closer alliances between Governments and business for implementing the Paris Agreement.
I hope, together, we can emphatically bend the emission curve by 2020. Let us expand the limits of the possible. You can tell us how. I look forward to learn with you.