As the UN Secretary-General has said “climate change is running faster than us and we are running out of time” as confirmed by the findings of the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the IPCC, global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would avoid some of the more dangerous scenarios of climate change. For example, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C, which would expose 10 million fever people to sea level rise. It would also expose several hundred million fewer people to risk and poverty by 2050 compared with 2°C. Every bit of extra warming makes a difference. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires urgent, ambitious and collective climate action in all areas.
Climate action provides an unprecedented opportunity to unlock massive economic and social benefits that can help us achieve the SDGs. Recent studies have found that low-carbon growth could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030 and create over 65 million new jobs. Climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually supportive.
Achim Steiner statement as prepared
... The Urgency of Climate Action
We need strong political will and leadership to push for urgent and ambitious action now. As articulated by the UN Secretary-General, key priorities will include urgent shift to renewable energy by phasing out fossil fuels and expanding carbon price market - while also curbing existing and future energy demand through energy efficiency solutions.
Renewable energy is becoming increasingly available and affordable, with the market share growing from 16.7 per cent in 2010 to 17.5 per cent in 2015 and is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2030. According to IRENA, the global energy transition could contribute up to US$10 trillion every year by 2050 and boost the world GDP.
We need to significantly boost public and private investment, including innovative financing mechanisms, for climate action. This includes ensuring developed countries honor their financial pledges under the Paris Agreement, including the US$100 billion per year by 2020 pledge. This also means rigorous and transparent tracking of global public and private finance flows to ensure accuracy.
Financing adaptation and resilience is also critical. While the world takes steps to reduce carbon emissions, for many of the most vulnerable and most exposed, this may be too little, too late. A strong focus on adaptation and risk reduction is necessary to ensure we can sustain and advance national development priorities and achieve the 2030 Agenda.
We are hopeful that we can achieve the ambitious goals set out under the Paris Agreement, as the motto for the 2019 climate summit states – it is “A Race We Can Win”. We should build on the progress being made. For example, the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) has recently reported that in 2017 its members committed USD$196 billion in climate finance and USD$24 billion to other environmental objectives. The IDFC also reported that despite doubling from 2016, adaptation to climate change still represents 4 per cent of its total green finance.