Copenhagen, Denmark

22 October 2013

Secretary-General's keynote address at Third Global Green Growth Forum [As prepared for delivery]

I am delighted to be back in Copenhagen to speak for the third time at the Global Green Growth Forum.

Last year, I met with the Korean celebrity Psy.

I am sure you all remember ‘Gangnam Style’!

Psy was so energetic that I joked that he was a one-man solution to the energy crisis.

Of course, achieving a clean energy transformation will need the combined efforts of governments, multilateral investment banks, private finance, civil society, the knowledge community and the private sector.

That is why I established the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

We have three ambitious but achievable objectives to be achieved by 2030. 

First, to provide universal access to modern energy.  This is essential for social progress and economic opportunity for more than a billion marginalized people.

Second, we aim to double the worldwide rate of improvement in energy efficiency.  Too much energy goes to waste.

Third, we want to double the global share of renewable energy.

Each of these objectives serves a common end: clean, low-carbon growth.

This is critical for sustainable development.

This Forum has an important role in establishing a vibrant global marketplace for green capital and solutions.

I thank China, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Qatar for making this Forum an increasingly dynamic gathering.

And I thank Denmark for hosting.

Denmark is a world leader in energy efficiency and climate-friendly technology and policy.

I have made several visits to Copenhagen; most recently to see the state-of-the art, environmentally sound UN City.

Copenhagen is now also home to the UNFCCC Climate Technology Centre and the new energy efficiency hub under Sustainable Energy for All, which will be launched tomorrow.

I count on these entities to contribute to global green growth in the coming decades.

We are fast approaching a triple deadline.

The target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals falls at end of 2015.

World leaders have also agreed on 2015 as the year for establishing a new sustainable development framework and reaching an agreement on climate change.

2015 thus represents an historic opportunity to set the world on a sustainable path.

To do that we must eradicate extreme poverty and hold global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

These objectives are mutually reinforcing and interdependent.

Achieving them will require significant global momentum – beginning with a concerted push to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.

On that foundation we must agree an inclusive post-2015 development framework with poverty reduction at its core and sustainable development as its guide.

And to support these efforts, we must increase action and ambition on climate change.

To that end, I have proposed convening a Climate Summit in September.

It will bring together government, business, finance and civil society leaders from around the world to mobilize political will for the climate negotiations, deliver concrete new commitments and spark a race to the top in climate action.

I count on your participation, vision – and action.

First, I ask you to bring solutions and initiatives with targets, deliverables and investment plans.

Second, I urge you to raise your level of ambition by scaling up the investments and financial flows necessary for making the transformation to a low carbon economy.

We need large amounts of capital for the rapid development of low-carbon infrastructure.

We are seeing progress -- but not fast enough.  And not at sufficient scale.

Climate change is the single greatest threat to sustainable development.

Yet, too often, one important fact gets lost amid the fear: addressing climate change is one of our greatest opportunities.

With enlightened action, we can create jobs, improve public health, protect the environment and spur sustainable green growth.

In the coming year we should all do our utmost to unlock the barriers to climate finance that exist across the global economy.

I am personally engaged in trying to move the financial actors.

I meet regularly with financial actors and investors.

Tomorrow I will join the meeting on Climate Financing here in Copenhagen.

I will continue to engage and challenge pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds to look beyond the fossil-related segments of the global economy.  

Less than 1 per cent of pension fund assets are currently invested in sustainable infrastructure projects.

Our hope is that greater investment can move towards low-carbon assets, for the good of the world and the long-term financial health of investors.

At the same time, development and commercial banks can and should unlock capital to enable low-carbon investments.

And regulators can break barriers to facilitating these flows.

There are enormous untapped investment opportunities in developing countries.

All financial actors have to work together to create the mechanisms for making these investments possible.

Companies and countries have to make sure that bankable projects are ready, when the money is available.

With focus, resolve and ambition, we can lower the global thermostat and raise the level of economic opportunity for all – from the poorest households to the largest enterprises.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are partners on a path to sustainability.

I have high hopes for what leaders such as you can bring to the 2014 Climate Summit and our efforts to transform the global energy economy. 

But we have no time to waste.

The latest IPCC report has reminded us again of the urgency of our work.

The way we produce and use energy is the dominant cause of climate change.

The impact on our global economy is increasingly clear.

We count the cost in human lives and economic loss.

But, we are forging solutions together all over the world.

Innovations and investment are increasingly at our fingertips.

Let us use Forums like this to accelerate away from an unsustainable past to a future that respects people and planet.

We have an historic opportunity to leave a legacy that will reverberate through generations.

Let us seize it.

Thank you.