New York

16 September 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at launch of new Climate Economy Commission Report

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to participate in this very meaningful session, hosted by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change.

I thank President [Felipe] Calder?n for his great leadership. Standing on this podium, and meeting with you today, I am feeling great strength and energy and even heat coming from you. You are generating a lot of energy already.

As the President said, it is just one week ahead of the Climate Change Summit meeting. We expect more at least more than 120 Prime Ministers and above – Heads of State and Government. There are numerous Foreign Ministers and Environment Ministers who will be participating. This is going to be a real defining moment for all of us. You are providing such a basis and foundation.

I have been working very closely with President Calder?n when he was in his office. I have been visiting Mexico many times. We have been participating in UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] Climate Change Summit meetings, G-20 Summit meetings.  I have never seen such a passionate and persistent or committed leader on climate change. As Chair of Cancún UNFCCC, he helped adopt this Cancún agreement, which is now still the basis of our negotiation, where the idea of a Green Climate Fund was again discussed, and I am very much grateful for this.

I have noticed that while it says a better growth, a better climate, it says it is a synthesis report. As you know, as part of shaping future development agenda – a post-2015 development agenda – Member States have been working very hard through an open working group and they are now asking me to support a synthesis report, which will be again used as a very important element for future deliberations next year. By September next year, at this time, we expect world leaders will adopt a visionary work of sustainable development goals. Now, he has presented a synthesis report when it comes to the climate change dimension, and I am going to provide one comprehensive synthesis report. So this is a good report, and I will surely make it, reflect [it] in my synthesis report.

Again, I really thank you again.

This report on the New Climate Economy is timely.

Scientists have long warned of the potential implications of climate change for economic growth.

We can no longer afford to burn our way to prosperity.

We must manage climate risk for sustained -- and sustainable -- economic progress.

We need a structural transformation in the global economy.

This report argues for a new model where economic growth and climate action are mutually reinforcing – and it shows how we can build it.

There is no time to lose.

Greenhouse gas emissions are at record levels.

The effects of climate change are already widespread, costly and consequential.

That is why I am convening next week’s Climate Change Summit meeting.

I have invited leaders from Government, business communities and civil society and NGOs and philantropists, and I hope that they will lead this campaign.

I expect the Summit to deliver on four of the most prominent recommendations in this report.

They are crucial to addressing climate change and promoting low-carbon growth.

First, the Summit should help to lay the framework for putting a price on carbon.

Second, it will seek to promote innovative financing instruments, such as green bonds.

Third, the Summit will build the case for removing policy ambiguity. 

We must encourage innovation for green growth. 

Fourth, the Summit will generate momentum for joint initiatives that will decarbonize critical sectors, such as energy, land-use and urban planning.

These four recommendations – and the broader messages in this report -- are not just climate-relevant.

They are central to sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.

We cannot eradicate extreme poverty without fighting climate change.

We need to advance the two agendas simultaneously, and the message which President Calder?n just mentioned, coming from his own experience as President of Mexico, is really coming to my heart directly. I have never served as President or Prime Minister but having worked with him and having worked with so many Presidents, I know that Presidents and Prime Ministers  and all these Ministers are surrounded by advisers who think these are two separate roads. One: domestic economic growth. The other: investing in climate change. But these are two sides of one coin. I know that when President Calder?n, when he was in his office, he might have been surrounded by this kind of argument and theories, but now everybody knows that it is wrong. It is a wrong argument. We are doing the same things in two sides - one coin with two sides. Therefore, these two agendas should be addressed simultaneously. Wise investment in climate change will surely help domestic economic growth. This goes hand in hand. Therefore we have to really change this kind of dynamic, which is shared by many world leaders.

With this report, I sincerely hope that decision-makers in the public and private sector have a set of concrete recommendations for sustainable low-carbon economic growth.

Again, I sincerely thank, as a Secretary-General of the United Nations, who is also as committed as any other world leaders, for your very important contribution to our common effort, our common journey, to achieve this climate change agreement by next year. Then thereafter, we have to join together for a sustainable path for humanity. I thank you very much.