Davos, Switzerland

23 January 2014

Secretary-General's Remarks at Press Conference with European Commission President Mr. José Manuel Barroso and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be in Davos and that so much attention is being placed on the issue of climate change.

The European Commission has announced an ambitious proposal with economy-wide emissions targets of 40 per cent by 2030 and a renewable energy target of at least 27 per cent by the same date.

I commend the leadership of President Barroso of the European Union.

The European Union has set a standard that all need to follow.

We are now at a critical stage in the global conversation on climate change. 

The global agreement to be concluded in 2015 offers us an opportunity to limit global temperature rise below 2 degrees centrigrade and underpin our quest for sustainable development.

In September, I will host a Climate Summit in New York.

I am asking government, business, finance, and civil society leaders to come with bold announcements and actions, because achieving an ambitious and legal climate agreement will require political leadership and clear signals.

My intention is to provide a high visibility platform so that those who are ready to lead can do so.

I want to spur a ‘race to the top’.

I want all leaders to be inspired and to define what they each can bring to the table.

With this announcement, the European Commission has set the ball rolling.

I urge European Union leaders to put their full support behind this transformational proposal.

I hope by the time of the Summit, we can celebrate the adoption of the Commission’s proposal into law.

I also hope the Commission’s leadership will motivate all countries to aim high and come to the Summit with their own bold announcements.

Thank you.

Q: What has changed in the discussions since 2006 to now? In between there was just a crisis mode here in Davos. What has now changed significantly in the talks you attended here?

SG: This climate change issue has not been seriously tackled before 2006 or 2007. Since I became Secretary-General in 2007, through the Bali Roadmap, the international community has been paying much heightened attention and commitment. We made quite a historic milestone in the Bali Roadmap. Then it went on, and finally in Durban, Cancún, Doha, Member States have agreed that there should be a global legal climate agreement by 2015. This is a very firm agreement by the Member States of the United Nations. That is why we have been working very, very hard. We have only less than two years left now. One final meeting before we go to Paris will be in Peru this year.

Then by the time [we are] in Peru, we need to have a concrete document, a draft document, so that Member States will negotiate on the basis of this document, which we hope will be adopted in Paris Summit meeting next year - 2015.

In that regard, to spur some actions and political will of the leaders I have decided to convene a climate change summit meeting on 23 September in New York. We have two purposes. First, we have to raise much higher political will at the leaders’ level.

Now this time, the leaders mean not only government, but business communities and civil society and all the concerned parties. They should come with a bold commitment and actions.

Then second, through this summit meeting, I would like to use this opportunity to catalyze actions on the ground. Many people may have jokingly said this is going to be another talk shop. This is going to be [an] action summit, not [a] talk summit, which will generate much spur in the area of sustainable energy and mobilizing climate financing, and also promoting resilient urban development, cities and transport – all these areas. There are many areas which we have discussed in Rio+20 summit meeting in 2012.

Reducing carbon green house gas and having green economy will put us onto a sustainable path. That is the main purpose. In that regard, the European Union’s announcement yesterday of reducing targets of 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions against 1990 [levels] is a very positive message. I hope this will be emulated by all the countries in the world.

Our hope is that this announcement, declaration and their commitment is a scalable and replicable one by other countries and other firms. That is why, with [European Union Commissioner José Manuel] Barroso and President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, I am going to meet a lot of people, business leaders and government leaders to use this Davos Forum as the starting ground, a launching ground, for this two-year campaign.