New York

09 December 2020

Secretary-General's video message on Emissions Gap Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the global economy.

As a result, greenhouse gas emissions will briefly dip.

But this slowdown will not save us from climate disruption.

The Emissions Gap Report 2020 tells us that, last year, total greenhouse gas emissions, which include land-use change, reached a new high of 59.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

It also tells us that current commitments under the Paris Agreement still imply a global temperature rise of over 3 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

This would spell catastrophe.

But we have an opportunity.

A sustainable pandemic recovery that prioritizes climate action can protect human health, jobs and economies and limit global warming.

We are seeing a growing number of encouraging pledges for carbon neutrality.

Our objective for 2021 is to build a global coalition for net zero emissions.

But we need to see these pledges turn into concrete plans, backed with real action and investment, well in advance of the next climate change conference.

I expect that more countries will take these necessary steps at the upcoming Climate Ambition Summit.

We need to put a price on carbon.
We need renewable energy and green jobs.

No more fossil-fuel subsidies or new coal-fired power plants.

More support for fossil-fuel dependent countries to diversify their economies.

And solutions that nurture and restore nature.

I urge all nations, particularly the G20, to heed this call and protect people, prosperity and the planet we depend on.