UN Secretary-General Urges Ministerial Action to Bend Emissions Curve by 2020
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an economic framework that integrates climate and disaster risk in all areas of budgeting, planning and finance.

He further urged ending fossil fuel subsidies, putting a price on carbon and increasing global investment in climate action from billions to trillions.

Guterres stressed that the Katowice Climate Change Conference must agree on a robust framework for countries to operationalize and implement the Paris Agreement.

13 October 2018: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlined three key areas of action to bend the emissions curve by 2020 in his remarks to the Climate Finance Ministerial Meeting. Guterres identified additional opportunities to limit the global average temperature rise through improved management of land, energy, industry, buildings and cities and transport.

Guterres observed that the world is “way off target” to keep the global temperature rise to “well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C,” emphasizing that commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change represent only “one-third of what is needed.” He said the world has already warmed by 1°C, resulting in “consequences for people, economies and ecosystems everywhere” and demanding urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Guterres proposed three areas in which Ministers could make a difference. First, he called for an economic framework that integrates climate and disaster risk in all areas of budgeting, planning and finance. Second, he urged effective economic policy and fiscal instruments, including ending fossil fuel subsidies and putting a price on carbon. He said research finds that ending fossil fuel subsidies and pricing carbon could generate almost US$3 trillion in government revenues or savings by 2030. Third, Guterres recommended fundamental shifts in climate financing to increase global investment in climate action from billions to trillions. He called for governments to encourage banks to support innovative financial instruments and green financing, including green bonds and debt instruments to strengthen vulnerable nations’ resilience, and to promote investment in climate-friendly infrastructure.

Ending fossil fuel subsidies and pricing carbon could generate almost US$3 trillion in government revenues or savings by 2030.

Also on climate finance, Guterres underscored the importance of a fully resourced and operational Green Climate Fund (GCF). He called on governments to fulfill their pledge to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020, and informed the audience that President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Holness of Jamaica will co-chair an initiative to support a political process to meet this financial pledge.

On next steps, Guterres stressed that the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018 must agree on a robust framework for countries to operationalize and implement the Paris Agreement. He called on leaders to urge their negotiators “to resolve all sticking points and insist on progress.” Guterres also highlighted the upcoming UN 2019 Climate Summit, which aims to mobilize action and enhance ambition. He reaffirmed that the Summit will focus on six areas: energy transition; industry transition; resilience; local action and cities; finance and carbon pricing; and nature-based solutions.

The meeting convened in Bali, Indonesia, during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meetings, from 12-14 October 2018. [UN Secretary-General Statement] [UN News Story]


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