19 April 2018

Deputy Secretary-General Urges Carbon Pricing Coalition, Other Partners to Scale Up Efforts Ahead of 2020 Climate Summit

Following are UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the third high‑level assembly of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, in Washington, D.C., today:

I am pleased to be with you.  The efforts of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition are critical.

The science is clear on the scale of the climate challenge, and there is increasing evidence of the implications for development, peace and security.  Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are now the highest in 800,000 years.  Energy‑related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 per cent last year to 32.5 gigatons, a historic high.  The economic costs of climate‑related disasters hit a record $320 billion last year.  Climate change has emerged as a major driver of migration.

The need for raising ambition and accelerating implementation is unquestionable.  The current nationally determined contributions do not put us on the path of well below 2 degrees.  Scientists say we need not bend the emissions curve by 2020.  We need to dramatically raise ambition.  This requires bold leadership and transformative policies.

Putting a price on carbon is an effective instrument to incentivize investments in low‑carbon solutions.  Thanks to this Coalition, we are seeing progress.  More regional, national, and subnational governments and authorities are adopting carbon pricing schemes.  The number of businesses with an internal carbon price is growing.  The value of carbon pricing as a risk management tool for companies is now better recognized.

But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.  Eighty‑five per cent of emissions are still not covered by carbon pricing.  Most current carbon prices are significantly lower than what is needed to be consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.  We need to accelerate progress to make carbon pricing an instrument that can meaningfully contribute to closing the emissions gap.

The Secretary‑General is convening a summit on climate change in September 2019.  His aim is to mobilize leaders to act on bending the emissions curve and to move towards a more resilient future.  As the Secretary‑General says, “we need a race to the top”.

The 2019 summit should demonstrate that change is happening and it is happening with speed and at scale.  With cost‑effective solutions, we can raise ambition towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2020.  The next 18 months are an opportunity to untangle the challenges that we have not been able to resolve on the carbon pricing agenda.

I see three challenges.  First is convincing leaders, public and private, to increase the carbon price to a meaningful level.  This needs to be a priority, particularly for high emitting countries.  Second is bringing in key economic sectors that are not reflecting the cost of pollution or are lagging behind.  These include the shipping industry, oil and gas.  Third is communicating to developing countries how they can benefit from carbon credits.

I encourage you all to look at these issues and push the needle in the next 18 months.  The Secretary‑General and I are committed to working with you.

For information media. Not an official record.