New York

21 September 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to media following High Level Meeting on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change [as delivered]

I am pleased to see you this morning. 

This is a great day for the planet, for multilateralism and for our sustainable development agenda. 

We are now very close to bringing the Paris Agreement into force.  

Sixty countries have now joined the Paris Agreement.  

They represent over 47.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We need about 7.5 per cent more of the greenhouse gas emissions accounted.  

The thresholds for entry into force are 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global emissions. 

We have crossed one threshold and the emissions threshold is within reach. 

Today we also heard commitments from many other countries to join the Agreement this year.  

Their combined emissions will take us well past the required amount for the Agreement to enter into force. 

And even more countries are working hard to complete their own ratification processes. 

I am convinced that the Paris Agreement will enter into force before the end of 2016.  

What once seemed impossible is now inevitable.  

This momentum is remarkable.  

It can sometimes take years or even decades for a treaty to enter into force. 

It is just nine months since the Paris climate conference. 

This is testament to the urgency of the crisis we face. 

Climate change is a real and present danger to lives, livelihoods and economies around the world. 

Every day wasted raises the risks. 

But, with the Paris Agreement, we have a real chance to reduce global emissions and build climate resilience. 

I will also be closely watching developments at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly later this month, and at the meeting in Kigali in October of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.  

I urge countries to reach consensus on reducing emissions from the aviation sector and from hydrofluorocarbons, which are powerful greenhouse gases.  

Strong action in both these areas will complement the Paris Agreement and help meet the agreed goal of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. 

On a personal note, this is a very special moment for me.  

From taking office in 2007 until now, I have worked relentlessly to bring countries together to accelerate and strengthen the global response to climate change. 

Over that time, I have seen how leaders from Government, the private sector and civil society -- and people everywhere -- have come to recognize the threat that climate change poses. 

I have seen the impacts of climate change.  

And I have seen the tremendous promise of a low-carbon climate-resilient economy. 

When the Paris Agreement enters into force this year, it will be a major step forward on our journey to a more secure, more equitable and more prosperous future. 

Thank you very much for your attention.