Patricia Espinosa

Patricia Espinosa: “There is no path to 1.5°C without the G20”

Patricia Espinosa

UN Climate Change News 23 July 2021 – Speaking to the Environment and Energy Ministers of G20 nations in Naples, Italy, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa called on countries to provide the necessary leadership to achieve the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to hold the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, which include ever more frequent and severe droughts, floods and fires of the type the world is witnessing right now.

The UN’s top climate change official recalled that the G20 was founded in response to the 2008 financial crisis, with the goal of achieving global economic stability and sustainable growth.

“The G20 accounts for 80 per cent of all global emissions. There is no path to 1.5C without the G20,” she said.

“Climate change is — without exception — detrimental to that goal. It is therefore in the best interests of all G20 nations to harness its collective diversity to build consensus and work in a unity of purpose to address the most significant challenge standing in the path of that goal,” she added.

Only 97 countries have submitted updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which are national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement – less than half of all signatory countries of the Paris Agreement. Patricia Espinosa called on G20 nations to show leadership by presenting more ambitious NDCs in line with science.

And she reminded developed countries of their pledge to mobilize $100 billion annually to developing nations by 2020, a commitment made in the UNFCCC process more than a decade ago.

“It’s time to deliver. How can we expect nations to make more ambitious climate commitments for tomorrow if today’s have not yet been met?”, she said.

Ms. Espinosa highlighted the fact that resources for adaptation and resilience building are critical for the vast majority of developing countries. Because of this, 50 per cent of the total share of climate finance needs to be allocated to adaptation and resilience.

And she called on nations and businesses to align their portfolios and activities to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Regarding the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November, the UN Climate Change Chief urged governments to achieve consensus in areas where differences remain, including Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (relating to carbon markets), transparency of climate action and capacity building for developing countries.

“Each of these issues must be resolved in order to fully implement the Paris Agreement. We’ve been working on implementing the agreement for five years.  We have run out of time. (…) I ask you to come to COP26 determined to succeed,” she said.


See the full speech of Patricia Espinosa here:

Ministers;

It’s a pleasure to be here and thank you to the Italian Presidency for this opportunity to speak. It’s the first time I’ve spoken in front of a live audience since the beginning of COVID-19 more than a year ago.

I begin by recognizing those who continue to suffer through these difficult times, especially those who have lost friends and family.

I also recognize those who have lost their lives in the recent series of weather disasters throughout the world — events that underscore the irrefutable evidence of our climate change emergency.

This is the point of my remarks when I usually provide several statistics and numbers reflecting the dire climate situation we collectively face.

But what more can numbers show us that we cannot already see?

What more can statistics say about the flooding, the wildfires, the droughts and hurricanes and other deadly events?

Numbers and statistics are invaluable, but what the world requires now, more than anything else, is climate action.

People throughout the world demand it. We see it in traditional and social media, in schools, in communities, in demonstrations and more.

What they want is bold and courageous leadership that gets us off our current path of destruction and instead puts us on the climate-resilient path that the Paris Agreement promised.

The Paris Agreement provides the framework for limiting global temperatures to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Five years ago, nations agreed to its adoption. But adoption is not implementation. Without this crucial step, unleashing the full potential of the Paris Agreement is simply impossible.

Ministers,

G20 nations have a responsibility, as well as the opportunity to provide the bold and courageous climate change leadership the world needs.

The responsibility is clear: the G20 accounts for 80 per cent of all global emissions. There is no path to 1.5C without the G20.

You are a unique group, representing a wide diversity of nations — all at different stages of development and with different circumstances and political realities.

Far from a division point, this diversity is the G20’s greatest strength. The very reason for the G20’s foundation was a recognition that solutions to global issues were not one-size-fits-all.

The same applies today. The climate emergency requires the same approach and determination as G20 nations showed during the 2008 financial crisis.

If the founding and fundamental purpose of the G20 is to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth, climate change is — without exception — detrimental to that goal.

It is therefore in the best interests of all G20 nations to harness its collective diversity to build consensus and work in a unity of purpose to address the most significant challenge standing in the path of that goal.

But like so many issues, building consensus means showing the willingness to move beyond politics and entrenched positions.

Frankly, we’re not there yet. But this must change, and soon — certainly by COP26. Yet we cannot simply show up in Glasgow and hope for the best.

Consensus-building and climate action must happen as soon as possible.

Ministers,
G20 nations can show bold and courageous leadership right now by presenting, in line with science, ambitious national climate action plans.

Plans that:

…outline commitments for the next five years…

…show how you will reduce emissions 45 per cent by 2030…

…show how you will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050…

…and Long-Term Strategies that define the path to that goal.

We currently have 97 NDC submissions, but this is less than half of all Parties to the Paris Agreement. This is not what people throughout the world will want to hear when we talk about climate ambition.

Receiving these plans is crucial. We also encourage nations who have already submitted to revisit and submit more ambitious NDCs.

Finance is another area where previous commitments must be met to achieve success moving forward. It’s linked to virtually every element of our global climate change efforts.

The pledge by developed nations to mobilize $100 billion to developing nations by 2020 is a commitment made in the UNFCCC process more than a decade ago. It’s time to deliver. How can we expect nations to make more ambitious climate commitments for tomorrow if today’s have not yet been met?

Resources for adaptation and resilience building are critical for the vast majority of developing countries. This can no longer — especially in light of recent climate disasters — be the forgotten component of climate action.

Specifically, we need to see 50 per cent of the total share of climate finance to be allocated to adaptation and resilience.

On a wider scale, nations and businesses, must align their portfolios and activities to the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is the only way we can truly achieve the deep transformation we need to achieve a more sustainable, resilient future.

We must all get away from the idea that there are climate or “green” investments and then other investments.

Nations and businesses cannot fund a few climate projects and then claim to be sustainable and climate friendly if all other investment is based in high-emissions sectors.

It’s impossible to move forward if we’re still chained to the past.

G20 nations have mobilized vast resources to help their economies navigate through the pandemic. We need to see the same level of commitment to address climate change and to fuel the transition towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.
Ministers,

In addition to:

    • submitting more ambitious national climate action plans and long-term strategies;
    • mobilizing the $100 billion;
    • making adaptation a central part of the finance picture; and
    • aligning global investments with the Paris Agreement…

…we also must make COP26 a success this coming November. And that means achieving consensus in areas where several differences remain.

They remain in areas ranging from Article Six, to transparency, capacity building and more.

Each of these issues must be resolved in order to fully implement the Paris Agreement.

We’ve been working on implementing the agreement for five years.

We have run out of time.

That’s why, ministers, my message today cannot be any clearer: we need your political decisions. We need your knowledge. We need your solutions.

We need your bold and courageous leadership.

And we need all of this urgently.

I want to underline that while the impacts of climate change continue to grow worse, the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement is still within reach.

But we cannot reach it without the G20.

I ask you to come to COP26 determined to succeed,

Never has there been a year like this one.

Yet never has one generation of leaders had an opportunity to change so much in so little time.

I ask you to rise to the challenge and the opportunity of our times…

…to get us off the path of loss and destruction and onto the path of recovery, resilience and hope.

Thank you.

 

Source: United Nations Climate Change

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