It is time to come with a plan
September 21-23, 2019, UN Headquarters, New York
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Climate Action Summit in late 2018, aware that global efforts to tackle climate change are running off track - a fact underlined by the dire warnings in the IPCC 1.5°C report. He said he wanted a summit where leaders would only get to speak if they have plans in line with 1.5°C. It’s not the same as the annual COP: this will still take place in 2019, in Chile [COP25].
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Guterres has made four demands to world leaders and CEOs to deliver ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit.
Countries are scheduled to update their climate plans by 2020.
Under the Paris Agreement, 2020 is the first time all countries are scheduled to re-submit their climate plans and boost their ambition. The goal of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 is to:
- Ensure countries are aware of the 2020 calendar and start doing their homework;
- Ensure the global focus on climate gains momentum;
- Ensure there is scrutiny on the investments countries are making in fossil fuels vs. renewables.
People demand climate action
The UN Secretary General is a critical and lone voice among world leaders in demanding greater climate ambition. Millions around the world are looking to him to guide governments on a path to a 1.5°C world.
His summit on 23 September 2019 in New York, the UN Climate Action Summit, will bring together leaders from government, business, youth and faith groups to chart an adequate response to the climate emergency facing our planet.
We are facing a climate emergency!
The climate plans submitted in 2015 put the world on course to warm 3°C by 2100. Scientists say rises of up to 3°C would lead to a variety of damaging impacts, including the extinction of many species, a rise in lethal heatwaves, a reduction in groundwater supplies and catastrophic sea level rise.
In addition, a 3°C temperature rise increases the possibility that fragile natural systems like the Arctic or Amazon experience “abrupt and irreversible changes” by melting entirely, or drying out, for example.
Carbon neutrality is the new game in town.
The upcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit presents opportunities to respond to this urgent task and come up with a plan to raise their game by 2020. Countries should show leadership and take steps towards carbon neutrality in 2050.
So far 20 countries, including the UK and France, have either put net zero into law or are considering it, while the European Union’s 28 member states are also working on a collective 2050 carbon neutrality goal.
Almost one-sixth (16%) of global GDP is now covered by net zero emission targets set by nations, regions and cities according to UK think-tank ECIU. 21 cities with an estimated GDP of US $7 trillion and at least 34 companies with an annual income above US $1bn have set net zero emissions targets including Google, Microsoft, Siemens, Daimler and Maersk.
UNEP Emission Gap Report
2020 Climate Progress Tracker Tool
Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions show no sign of peaking
Tracking real-world progress on climate action towards 2020
The 2018 UNEP Gap report shows that global greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing. Alongside national governments, actions by non-state and subnational actors (NSAs), including regional and local governments and businesses, are key to implementing and boosting climate action globally. The UN Climate Action Summit is an opportunity for these leaders to emerge.
The recently launched 2020 Climate Progress Tracker Tool illustrates the immense changes now taking place globally as countries and sectors make the transition to a low- and post-carbon economy: electrified transport, low-emissions steel and cement, zero-emission shipping and an ICT sector increasingly reliant on renewables are all developing trends
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