Lima, Peru

09 December 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at the closing of the "Caring for Climate" business forum organized by the Global Compact (as prepared for delivery)

It is a great pleasure to join you. This is my third time attending the Caring for Climate Business Forum. I commend its leadership and I applaud your initiatives to address climate change.

I thank all of you who took part in the Climate Summit in September in New York. We showed the world that leaders of governments, civil society, financial institutions and businesses can come together to respond to the climate challenge.

The Summit achieved its goals of mobilizing political will and catalysing action on the ground. More than 100 Heads of State and Government and hundreds of leaders from business, finance and civil society actively participated.

The Summit generated bold commitments and partnerships on cutting emissions, moving money and markets, strengthening resilience and mobilizing new coalitions.  Private sector finance committed more than $200 billion.  Now is the time for all to deliver.

Partners also agreed on steps to advance carbon pricing. This is an important tool for reducing emissions and generating innovation and finance for low-carbon, resilient growth.

At the Summit, carbon pricing received support from more than 70 national governments plus 11 regional governments and more than 1,000 businesses and investors.

To put this in perspective, collectively that represents more than half of global GDP – and more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions

I especially want to thank the more than 30 Caring for Climate companies that committed to go even further by pledging to align themselves with the UN’s Business Leadership Criteria on Carbon Pricing. And I welcome today’s announcement on a new Business and Investors Working Group on Carbon Pricing.

The world is activated – from the streets to national capitals, from business headquarters to grassroots community centres.

But the planet is also still warming – so we have to turn up the heat on our response.

  I count on you to lead by example. Set a meaningful internal carbon price. Advocate for responsible policies. Acknowledge where you need to do more – and publicly report on your progress.

Putting a price on carbon has the potential to unleash large investment flows and stimulate green growth and innovation. It will help ensure that low-carbon technologies spread quickly around the world.

I will support you by pushing governments to do their part. I am calling for frameworks that set a level playing field. I am asking for clear signals that will encourage the private sector to integrate climate activities into their long-term strategies.

We are now working towards concluding a universal and meaningful global climate agreement next year in Paris.

I count on your support.

The European Union, China and the United States recently showed great leadership by announcing commitments on climate action beyond 2020.

The European Union set the bold target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.

This will lead to tangible and significant contributions towards our collective effort to keep temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius. The EU decision also set a standard for climate ambition for all countries in support of the upcoming global negotiations.

The joint announcement by China and the United States showed that the transition towards a more sustainable future is accelerating.

The world’s three largest economies have provided a clear signal to the business and finance communities that low-carbon, climate resilient growth is the best path to prosperity and security in the 21st century.  

I call on all major economies to build on this progress by declaring their own national commitments by the first quarter of 2015.

Companies that grasp this moment, drive down emissions, invest in sustainable practices, and strengthen resilience will be global winners in the new economy.

Climate change can be the most powerful game-changing force for business in the future.

But that is not automatic. It will take you leading the world to a new economic approach that is cleaner, healthier, more resilient and more sustainable.

While other businesses sit on the fence – or worse, defend the old order – you can demonstrate the value of investing in a low-carbon economy.

I call on you to go further and faster.

Become stronger champions of climate action by taking three actions:

First: set high time-bound targets to reduce emissions in line with the 2-degree Celsius pathway to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change..  And challenge your governments to aim high with their national contributions to ensure that the world stays on that pathway.

Second: become Carbon Pricing Champions. Advocate for a well-functioning carbon market. Our goal is to have 100 Carbon Pricing Champions by the Paris meeting next year.

Third: speak out for smart policies to ensure sustainable growth. Lead with your activities – and urge governments to enact policies that will help you do even more.

I count on Caring for Climate, the UN Global Compact and the broader global corporate community to mobilize climate action fast enough to deliver major results.

Working together, we can turn the climate challenge into the greatest opportunity of our time to generate sustainable prosperity for the planet and all people.

Thank you.