Brussels, Belgium

03 June 2019

Secretary-General's message for European Union Conference on International Carbon Markets

I thank the European Union for gathering to discuss the crucial role of international carbon markets in advancing climate action, stabilizing global temperature rise and avoiding runaway climate change.
 
The disastrous impacts of climate change are upon us, affecting lives and economies and threatening our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Last year, nations made progress at COP24 in Katowice by giving the Paris Agreement the operating guidelines needed to unleash its full potential. I am convening a Climate Action Summit in September in New York, and I have asked countries to come with solid plans to make Nationally Determined Contributions more ambitious -- with new and credible targets -- and to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
 
We need radical change. We must put a price on carbon and end subsidies for fossil fuels; it is also essential not to build new coal power plants beyond 2020.
 
International carbon markets can support such ambition, both domestically and internationally.  By putting a price on carbon, transactions reflect the real cost of pollution and, as a consequence, they shift investments towards low-emission and resilient projects.
 
Every day we fail to act is a day we step a little closer towards a future none of us wants. I urge you to act at this critical moment to advance the deep transformation we need.