6 February 2019

Secretary-General, Concerned That Last Four Years Are Warmest on Record, Echoes Calls for More Climate Ambition Ahead of September Summit

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

The Secretary-General notes with concern the data released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that have confirmed 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 as the four warmest years on record.  According to the analysis, the global average surface temperature in 2018 was approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).

The data released by WMO confirm the urgency of addressing climate action - as emphasized by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities” and that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” around 2050.

The Secretary-General notes that, to make these transformations, we need to significantly increase the global level of climate action and ambition.  The Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September aims to mobilize political will to raise ambition for the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and it will also demonstrate transformative action in all the areas where it is needed.

The Summit will focus on nine key areas:  Mitigation ambition; energy transition; industry transition; nature-based solutions; infrastructure, cities and local action; climate finance and carbon pricing; resilience and adaptation; social and political drivers; and mobilization.  The Secretary-General is working closely with Member States and non-party stakeholders to bring outcomes in these areas to the Summit, which will send strong market and political signals that can inject momentum into the race to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

For information media. Not an official record.