Petersberg Climate Dialogue: rallying call for global net-zero transition policies

Reading time: 2 minutes
28 April 2020

Today the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has warned governments that delaying climate action in the face of COVID-19 recovery planning will cost the world more each year in terms of lost lives and livelihoods, crippled businesses and damaged economies.

His remarks come during the last day of the ‘Petersberg Climate Dialogue’, a two-day online conference co-hosted by Germany and the UK, which has convened 30 environment ministers from around the world to discuss how to organise a green economic recovery after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Yesterday Alok Sharma, the UK Secretary for Business and Energy and incoming President of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, outlined that the power and transport sectors should be two key areas of focus for rebuilding resilient economies.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, an international non-profit that accelerates climate action said:

“We welcome the remarks of the UN Secretary-General today on the need for a COVID-19 recovery plan that supports a just transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient world. We have a decade to halve emissions to get the world on track to reach net-zero by 2050. Governments’ economic stimulus plans will likely provide the biggest injection of cash we will see in the next 10 years, so we must make sure it is directed into the right areas. Practically, the investment needs to create jobs and security, but it must also give people hope for a safer, brighter tomorrow.

“Despite these incredibly challenging circumstances, we know that our partners in business and subnational governments remain committed to climate action. Just last week, nine members of our global electric vehicles initiative EV100, including the likes of Ingka Group, Unilever and LeasePlan, called on the EU to retain 2020 CO2 targets for cars, vans and trucks.”

"This pandemic is an unprecedented global catastrophe, but that means the opportunity for rebuilding is also unprecedented. With the right green stimulus policies in place that ramp up investment in long-term, sustainable solutions from electric transport to clean, efficient energy, we can deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement without compromising on economic growth.

Photo credit: BMU/Christoph Wehrer 2020
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