Ban Ki-moon at COP19: "We must lay firm foundations for the 2015 agreement"

Clare Saxon Ghauri
20 November 2013

WARSAW: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, spoke at Warsaw in Poland at the Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP19/CMP9) High-level Segment today, where he called for the prioritization of climate action, finance and leadership, and demanded that the foundations for the 2015 agreement are laid.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon began his remarks by echoing the dominating topic of COP19 so far, the linking of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to climate change. He said: "Climate change threatens current and future generations. We need look no further than last week’s catastrophe in the Philippines. I extend my deepest condolences to those affected and families and victims of Typhoon Haiyan. All around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet. The science is clear. Human activities are the dominant cause of climate change. We cannot blame nature. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. We are the first humans ever to breathe air with 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide.

"[...]We must rise to these challenges with wisdom, urgency and resolve to address climate change. Excellencies, I am deeply concerned that the scale of our actions is still insufficient to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. But I am also hopeful because I see opportunity and progress on multiple fronts towards a low-carbon future."

Ban Ki-moon highlighted the bold climate action already being demonstrated by organizations around the world. He said: "Governments, business, community groups, women, youth and indigenous leaders are building our collective capacity. Initiatives such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Sustainable Energy for All and UN-REDD are reducing emissions and strengthening resilience. New programmes for sustainable cities and climate-smart agriculture are delivering benefits to people and the planet. Countries and companies are realizing the economic gains of combating climate change. Global demand for renewable energy continues to rise very sharply. We now know it is possible to close the emissions gap. We must build on this momentum."

He followed his call for further climate momentum by listing four clear actions: "You have agreed to finalize an ambitious global legal agreement on climate change by 2015. We have a steep climb ahead. I see four areas for our action. First, those countries that have not yet done so should swiftly ratify the second commitment [period] of the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in Doha. Second, I call on you to step up [on] finance, including long-term finance and the Green Climate Fund. Progress on funding for adaptation and mitigation can fuel confidence and scale up action on the ground. To achieve the large-scale transformation necessary to stabilize the climate, nations must meet their climate finance commitments and make new targets much bolder. They must also send the right policy signals for investment. Third, I urge you to construct an action agenda to meet the climate challenge. Current pledges are simply inadequate. Here, too, we must set the bar higher. Fourth, we must lay firm foundations for the 2015 agreement. Success in Paris means bringing substantive progress to Lima. That means [in] Warsaw here we have to build a crucial stepping stone."

Ban Ki-moon ended his remarks by mentioning his initiative Climate Summit in New York which will take place on Tuesday, 23 September next year, one day before the opening of the annual General Assembly debate.

He concluded: "I count on your strong engagement, support and leadership. Let us work together, ladies and gentlemen, to make this world better for all. Let us shape this future, our own future for all succeeding generations and environmentally sustainable planet Earth."

Related news:

COP19: Hurricane Haiyan puts ‘loss and damage’ front and center

Days before COP19 in Warsaw begins, read our overview

COP19: Pressure is on from scientists and energy experts in wake of Philippines typhoon

Our Senior Policy Manager Damian Ryan is at COP19 in Warsaw where he is reporting and live-tweeting. Follow him on @DamianTCG and read his blogs about COP19.

By Clare Saxon

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