07 June 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at the National Center for Atmospheric Research [as prepared for delivery]

It is a great pleasure to visit this cutting-edge facility.

Climate change has been at the top of my priority agenda since I took office.

It relates to nearly every aspect of the work of the United Nations. 

That is why it has been discussed at the highest levels, including by the Security Council.

It is a humanitarian issue, a development issue, and an issue of security and stability.

The reason climate change has risen on the global agenda is because the facts don’t lie.

Our world is warming, and our greenhouse gas emissions are a significant cause.

We know this thanks to you – scientists and researchers studying the data and refusing to be swayed by politics, sceptics and interest groups.

The reports you produce – and in particular the contribution you have made to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – have helped make the case that climate change is a clear and present danger.

No country, no community is immune.

Increasingly severe and unpredictable weather events tell the story in the most graphic way.

Hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and wildfires are not new phenomena, but when each year sees new records set, we know something is amiss.

But we need people like you, and institutions like this, to analyze the trends, sort the data and produce useful information for forming policy.

Your work makes my job easier.

I am committed to mobilizing political will at the highest levels to address this global challenge.

That is why I have visited the Antarctic and Arctic, the Brazilian rainforest and the drylands of Mongolia.

It is why I have attended every United Nations climate change conference since I took office.

And it is why next year I am convening a high level meeting of world leaders to mobilize political will for a universal, ambitious and binding climate change agreement by 2015.

This is what leaders have promised, and it is what they must deliver.

I will count on your continued contribution to the scientific foundation for decision making.

This includes the Global Framework for Climate Services – an initiative of the UN system led by the World Meteorological Organization and endorsed by the UN Climate Change Convention.

And I look forward to the Physical Science Basis of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report that will be released in Stockholm on 27 September, which will give an updated assessment of how climate change is shaping our world.

I also encourage you to continue to build collaborations throughout the world, and in particular to help build capacity for research and decision-making in developing countries.

The least developed and most vulnerable countries too often lack the ability to generate and apply relevant climate information.

Climate-related products and advice are crucial for adaptation.

For example, climate predictions and seasonal forecasts can help with critical water management decisions such as the design of long-term infrastructure, water storage in anticipation of a shortage, or the release of water in anticipation of floods.

Over the next two years, I will engage leaders at the highest level – from governments, business, finance, science and civil society – and harness the full strength of the UN system to catalyze ambitious action to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience.

And, as I said, I will work to mobilize political will for a universal, ambitious and binding climate change agreement by 2015 and to catalyze more concrete action on the ground.

The benefits are clear.

Addressing climate change can stimulate new markets, job growth and energy independence.

It can promote better management of forests, women’s empowerment, cleaner air and improved public health.

We see growing unilateral and collective momentum, but current efforts are not enough.

We risk crossing dangerous thresholds.

To successfully reduce the risks posed by climate change, we will need the full engagement of everyone – including the scientists and meteorologists who have their fingers on the pulse of our planet.

I look forward to our continued collaboration. 

Thank you.