Oslo, Norway

27 October 2015

Secretary-General's message to Tenth Annual Zero Emissions Conference

I am pleased to send greetings to the tenth annual Zero Emissions Conference.  We are less than six weeks away from the pivotal Paris climate change conference.  There, governments will aim to finalize the world’s first universal agreement in which all countries pledge to curb their emissions and strengthen resilience.

Governments are waking up to the risks posed by climate change.  They are also realizing the tangible economic, security and health benefits that can be gained by early action.  Some 150 nations, representing close to 90 per cent of global emissions, have submitted climate mitigation and adaptation plans.  The world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases have announced ambitious climate actions and are showing leadership based on mutual respect and collaboration.

The private sector is also moving, some companies and sectors faster than others.  New, greener technologies are coming to the marketplace.  The price of renewable energy sources is falling dramatically, and in some places has reached price parity with fossil fuels.  Each year, the world uses more renewable electric power.

Investors are scrutinizing fossil fuel investments and finance professionals and insurers are beginning to integrate climate risk into their decision-making.  A growing number of global CEOs are retooling their energy systems, strengthening resilience and calling for a price on carbon.

Last and certainly not least, civil society is mobilizing as never before.  Cities, young people, indigenous peoples, and faith leaders around the world are demanding action and reminding us of the moral imperative to protect the vulnerable and care for our common home. 

Collective action on climate change is increasing by the day – and non-state actors are very often in the lead.  The United Nations is fortunate to have partnered with many of you on initiatives that are helping to reduce emissions and decarbonize our global economy in line with what science requires.

These efforts demonstrate that the world is hungry for – and capable of – serious steps that can meet the climate challenge.  Securing a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris will set the international policy framework needed for all sectors of society to embark, collectively, on a lower carbon, more climate resilient trajectory.

I count on you to raise your voices, push your governments to support an ambitious agreement in Paris, and continue to lead by example.  Build partnerships and generate solutions that can benefit people and the planet for generations to come.  I thank you for your leadership and wish you a productive conference.