5 October 2021

More Funding, Mitigation Key for Averting Climate Disaster, Secretary-General Tells Paris Meeting, Warning Emissions to Rise 16 Per Cent Under Current National Plans

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message to the 2021 Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) Council at the ministerial level, in Paris today:

Excellencies, thank you for your focus on “building a green future – getting to net zero”.  We are just weeks away from Glasgow – a critical milestone in our collective effort to avert climate catastrophe.  We must all step up, and the leadership of OECD member countries is essential to secure an inclusive, just and green recovery for all.

Our world needs a global 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 to reach net zero by mid‑century.  The latest United Nations report indicates that with present national commitments, emissions will go up by 16 per cent.  It would be a disaster with devastating consequences.

In addition to the emissions gap, we face a finance gap.  The OECD itself reported that the pledge to mobilize $100 billion annually to support developing countries is far off course.  I welcome recent promising efforts to close these gaps, but the world needs more bold and urgent action on three fronts.

First, mitigation.  We must commit to carbon neutrality by mid‑century and to concrete 2030 emissions reductions targets that will get us there, backed up with credible actions now.  OECD countries that have not submitted more ambitious nationally determined contributions must do so before Glasgow.  And everyone should commit to phase out coal power generation by 2030 – the single most important step to keep the 1.5 degree goal alive.

Second, finance.  We must implement the promised $100 billion a year, fully leveraging the resources of both international financial institutions and the private sector.  We also need to solve the issue of access to climate finance.  Leaders of vulnerable countries have made it clear that political attention is paramount to cut red tape, address eligibility issues, and ease speed in delivery.  Meaningful political signals at COP26 [Twenty‑sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] are essential to reassure developing countries.

Third, adaptation.  We must scale up funding to support adaptation and build resilience to at least 50 per cent of total public climate finance.  Here too, huge gaps remain.

My message is simple:  don’t wait for others to make the first move.  I count on you to do your part.  Not tomorrow, but today.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.