Abu Dhabi

05 May 2014

Remarks at closing plenary session of the "Abu Dhabi Ascent"

Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General Ban addresses the "Abu Dhabi Ascent" climate change conference where he called for urgent action, warning, "The longer we delay, the more we will pay." UN Photo/E. Debebe

Any government or major business that doesn’t have a climate strategy is in trouble. Don’t get left behind.

We have had a busy two days.

They have been informative and inspiring.

I thank you all for engaging.

Now the hard work begins.

In the coming months, I will count on the wisdom and initiative of all actors.

Those who are prepared to lead can expect considerable returns.

The business opportunities of the low-carbon economy are great.

The social and environmental benefits for countries in all regions are yet to be realized.

Now is the time for visionaries and those who are prepared to act to step forward.

I am urging all to raise the level of ambition.

Governments have to lead.

But business and finance, voters and consumers have a significant role to play.

Climate change is an issue for all.

I need you all to help us push back against sceptics and entrenched interests.

I need you to help craft the political arguments that will persuade leaders and policy makers in all areas of government that now is the time for bold action.

Too many are sitting on the fence, waiting for others to lead.

And I need you to build the new alliances that will move climate action from the marketplace of ideas to the commercial marketplace.

Change is in the air.

I challenge you to be part of that change – to be at the head of the race.

Any government or major business that doesn’t have a climate strategy is in trouble.

Don’t get left behind.

Don’t be on the losing side of history.

My message for today is clear and simple.

Take inspiration from what you have learned at the Abu Dhabi Ascent so we can continue to climb.

Develop your own action portfolios.

Build action coalitions based on concrete deliverable.

Empower and motivate your national leaders to bring bold announcements to the Climate Summit in September.

That is how we will support progress at the climate talks in Lima this year so we may have a meaningful agreement in Paris in 2015.

Let us work together to mobilize the political will to make climate change a top priority for all leaders – at home and in the global arena.

Tell them solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all,

Thank you.