LONDON: With just a few months to go before governments are meant to agree a new global climate deal in Paris, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has re-emphasized the importance and need for “bold and meaningful” climate action.
In a recent speech, the UN chief sought to inject political momentum into a negotiating process that has been criticized for its slow pace, while at the same time underlining the benefits and opportunity of the low carbon economy – a fact that is in line with the views tracked by The Climate Group's Climate Barometer.
Last week, as another round of UN climate talks in Bonn were concluding, the Secretary-General delivered an address centered on two key climate themes. Firstly, the need to accelerate international climate discussions, and secondly, the increasing credibility that the transition to a low carbon economy is financially and economically viable.
In the speech to French ambassadors, Ban Ki-moon stated “there is growing awareness at all levels, in all sectors and in all regions, that there need not be a trade-off between economic growth and addressing climate change. These two objectives can be complementary and mutually reinforcing.”
Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group has reinforced Ban Ki-moon’s point about the economic case for clean and renewable energies. In a recent interview on Climate TV, our CEO said the view that cutting emissions has a detrimental effect on economic growth is “plainly not the case.”
This growing level of confidence in the low carbon economy from business, government and civic society leaders will be showcased in front of world leaders in New York in a few weeks as the seventh annual Climate Week NYC takes place.
Numerous events planned for the week, which is convened by The Climate Group, will promote and reiterate the voices of key leaders in support of the transition toward a sustainable future. The role of cities and regions will be particularly prominent.
In his speech, Ban Ki-moon spoke of the progressive climate action of these sub-national governments by highlighting the success of the Compact of Mayors: “In the past year, 17 cities have signed up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.”
Another sub-national collaboration, The Climate Group’s States & Region Alliance, which has over 30 members and represents some of the most economically powerful regions in the world, has established a twin initiative called the Compact of States and Regions. The Compact has over 20 sub-national governments and continues to attract new members.
Ban Ki-moon also outlined the important link between tackling climate change and achieving the UN’s recently announced sustainable development goals. In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted: “Unless we take urgent action on climate change, we will not achieve sustainable development. All countries and all sectors of society have a role to play.”
The link between the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals and the climate agenda will be discussed at a variety of events during Climate Week NYC, which is acting as the official collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The connection this year between sustainable development and climate change further underlines why Climate Week NYC is a key moment in the lead up to Paris.
The extent to which countries, individually and collectively, will meet their development and climate goals will largely depend on the kind of targets and policies they implement as a result of the Paris climate deal.
So far, ahead of Paris, countries representing over 60% of global emissions have submitted their plans for climate action, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Based on the level of submissions, the UN Secretary-General stated he is “cautiously optimistic” in achieving a bold and meaningful new agreement at Paris but that “all countries and all sectors of society have a role to play.”
According to the Secretary-General, a strong climate deal must be:
Concluding his remarks, Ban Ki-moon rallied all actors to “continue to demand that global leaders act on climate change and secure an ambitious, universal agreement” and warned that a global climate deal must send a “strong signal that the world is committed to a low carbon future, and there is no going back.”
by Tim Poole
Our digital countdown to Climate Week NYC 2015 runs from September 1-20.
Each day The Climate Group is releasing exclusive conversations with key figures from the worlds of business and politics and beyond – through video, social media and blogs – as well as expert briefings. Follow @ClimateGroup for the latest.
See the full gallery of #CWNYC graphics and tweets to join the countdown, by clicking below.
Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.
Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.