Leaders meeting at UN underscore need to fast-track climate action

20 September 2017

Leaders from various levels of government, the private sector and civil society highlighted the need for climate action as they convened at United Nations Headquarters, where Secretary-General António Guterres warned that current pledges and plans are insufficient to keep global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees.

“Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Maria and the massive floods in South Asia are just the most recent demonstration of the urgency of tackling climate change ,” said Mr. Guterres in his remarks to the Leaders’ Dialogue on Climate Change, held today on the margins of the high-level session of the General Assembly.

“Such events will only become more frequent and more savage, with more dramatic humanitarian and economic consequences,” he added.

In 2020, parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which entered force in 2016, will review progress made to date.

“By then, we need to make sure that we have substantially raised the bar of ambition,” Mr. Guterres said, outlining six issues to focus on: investment in clean technology; carbon pricing; the energy transition; risk mitigation; augmenting the contribution of sub-national actors and business; and mobilizing finance.

“Momentum is growing. Now let’s make it grow even more,” he said.

Yesterday, the Secretary-General addressed a gathering of global leaders from local governments, the private sector and civil society, which was also attended by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr; UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg; and former US Vice President Al Gore.

“Climate change is not a distant problem for future generations,” he told them. “It is here, now, and we need to deal with it.”

Both meetings were held to forge alliances for implementing the Paris Agreement in the run-up to a Climate Summit Mr. Guterres plans to hold in 2019.

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French initiative to create global environment pact deserves support, says Secretary-General

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today urged global support for France’s initiative to create the first international legally binding document on the environment, at an event held on the margins of the annual leaders’ summit of the General Assembly.