Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Daring Cities Virtual Forum: Urban Leaders and Climate Change, in Bonn today:
We live in unprecedented times. The climate emergency continues unabated. Urban areas are ground zero. They bear the brunt of climate‑related disasters and are responsible for more than 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
As urban leaders, you are on the front lines of the solutions. We are seeing increasing commitments by you to adopt energy efficiency and transition to renewable energy and clean transport. You know this makes sense for the health of your economy and your citizens.
That is why I am urging Governments, businesses and cities to take six climate‑positive actions as we work to recover from the COVID‑19 pandemic. Invest in green jobs. Do not bail out polluting industries, especially coal. End fossil fuel subsidies and place a price on carbon. Take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions. Work together. And, most important, leave no one behind.
I am grateful to ICLEI [Local Governments for Sustainability] for its continued leadership on climate action. As we embark on this vital year before COP26 [Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], I count on you to raise your ambition and bring concrete commitments to COP26. We need cities to commit to net‑zero emissions before 2050, and a 45 per cent reduction by 2030. And we need you to invest in climate adaptation and resilience.
I count on you to bring the innovations, public‑private partnerships and financing that we need for a sustainable, healthy future.