NEW YORK, 10th June, 2023 (WAM) — UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, has stated that, despite the grim backdrop, there are some indicators of progress, including the International Energy Agency’s report that investment in solar is set to overtake investment in oil production for the first time – a milestone to be celebrated.
She made this statement during the Member States Briefing on the Climate Ambition Summit, which took place on Friday in New York.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General warned that “almost all our indicators on climate are pointing in the wrong direction”, with emissions hitting record highs; finance commitments remaining unmet; and and the World Meteorological Organisation’s warning that the next five years are likely be the hottest on record.
She added, “Of course, this will hit vulnerable communities the hardest. The communities are suffering the most today from drought, fires and floods displacing people. And even New York is witnessing the impact of wildfires in Canada. Canada’s Changing Climate Report had highlighted that heatwaves, extreme hot temperatures, and wildfire risks will increase in Canada as a result of human-caused climate change. This spring has been warmer and drier than average in Canada, with exceptional fire weather conditions in Quebec over the last week.
“This is all happening at just 1.2 degrees Celsius (°C) of warming above pre-industrial levels.”
“It is still possible to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C, and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only, in the Secretary-General’s words, if we take a quantum leap in climate action,” Mohammed assured. “That is the clear message of the IPCC Synthesis Report, published in March.
“In response to that report, the Secretary-General has called for an Acceleration Agenda. This calls on countries, especially the G20, to cooperate to accelerate climate action. It asks them to take clearly defined, concrete actions, to reach net zero faster as close as possible to 2040 for developed countries and as close as possible to 2050 for emerging countries.”
She said that this “calls for faster delivery of climate justice”, noting that developed countries must work together to make sure developing and vulnerable countries can access the finance and technologies they need to take action on climate.
“This is the context for the Climate Ambition Summit, which we will convene on the 20th of September, during the High-Level week of the UN General Assembly. The Summit is an opportunity for ‘First Movers and Doers’ – from government, business, finance, local authorities and civil society – to tell us how they are responding to the Secretary General’s call to ‘accelerate’ climate action.
“It seeks to focus our attention on the unprecedented levels of acceleration and cooperation needed to keep 1.5°C alive. And it aims to showcase how cooperation across borders and across society can accelerate decarbonisation in high emitting sectors and build climate resilient societies.”
The UN Deputy Secretary-General further explained that the Summit is designed around three distinct but interrelated tracks – ambition, credibility and implementation, and aims to show progress in each.
“The ambition track is aimed at Governments, especially major emitters. We ask them to respond to the Secretary-General’s Acceleration Agenda by announcing concrete actions and proposals.”
This includes raising the ambition of their current NDCs, for instance; accelerating their net zero targets and setting more ambitious renewables targets.
“The credibility track is mostly aimed at leaders of businesses, cities, regions and financial institutions,” she continued. “The Secretary-General has asked them to present transition plans that are fully aligned with the UN credibility standard. This was presented last November by the Secretary-General’s High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities.”
Mohammed said that, though some choose to attack leaders that have the courage to completely rethink their business models, the United Nations is proudly showcasing their efforts.
“Finally, the implementation track. This will showcase partnerships – both existing and emerging – that either accelerate decarbonisation in high-emitting sectors such as energy or shipping, or deliver progress on climate justice in areas such as early warning systems and adaptation financing. Leaders of Governments, international and regional organisations, financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society are invited to present implementation coalitions. These must show clearly their division of responsibilities and planned way forward.”
She expressed her hope that leaders, the private sector, and civil society organisations, will come to the Summit with credible and ambitious actions and commitments, noting that it can drive the acceleration on climate action that the world so desperately needs, as well as shape our understanding of the climate action needed over the next five years, as the Global Stock Take is concluded at COP28.
“Coming just after the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, the Climate Ambition Summit also reminds us that action on climate is key to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. At this vital time, we look forward to working with all Governments and stakeholders in ensuring that the Climate Ambition Summit delivers for people and planet,” UN Deputy Secretary-General concluded.