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UN Climate Summit – Summary

By September 23, 2019November 17th, 2020Climate Diplomacy

Here is the summary of the results of the UN Climate Action Summit on September 2019.


  • Russia has ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  • On Sunday, 15 nations led by the Marshall Islands committed to delivering new emissions reduction targets in early 2020, and by the end of next year, will produce longer-term strategies for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • A new Climate Ambition Alliance, including France, UK, Argentina, Costa Rica, Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden, brings together 59 nations who have also promised to submit a stronger climate action plan in 2020.
  • Another 11 signalled they are exploring to kick off national processes, including India, China and several countries in Europe (with the bloc under pressure to raise its target).
  • Five new countries (Austria, Chile, Italy, Japan, Timor-Leste) joined the Carbon Neutrality Coalition which helps countries develop plans to move towards net zero emissions by 2050. This comes after Germany committed to reach climate neutrality by 2050 on Friday.
  • Germany [coal phase out target of 2038] joined the global coal-phaseout coalition, and Greece committed to end coal use by 2028, with a plan to start dismantling plants in 2020

Funding Action: 

  • Qatar pledged US$100 million to fund climate action and resilience in Small Island States and Least Developed Countries.
  • Country pledges to the Green Climate Fund reached US$7.4 billion with top ups from 8 countries including Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and South Korea, ahead of a conference in October – the target for which is USD$10 billion. The Green Climate Fund supports climate action in developing countries.
  • The Clean Air Fund raised US$50 million in new commitments to combat air pollution from fossil fuels.
  • Multilateral Development Banks have doubled their financing of adaptation as countries face worsening climate impacts.

Corporate and Investor Action: 

  • 87 companies with a collective value of over $2.3 trillion and an annual climate impact equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants announced emissions reductions targets in line with 1.5C.
  • The Asset Owner Alliance, a group of the world’s largest pension funds and insurers, responsible for directing more than US$2 trillion in investments, committed to transitioning to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.
  • Major steel, cement and shipping companies announced plans to become carbon neutral, while a coalition of public and private entities working on the heavy industry set out pathways for carbon intensive sectors for doing the same by 2050.
  • 100 banks worth US$ 35 trillion to set corporate-level business targets
  • Bank of England to roll out climate stress tests on financial sector


  • Rising to the Secretary General’s challenge for “no new coal” after 2020, the Powering Past Coal Alliance expanded to include 30 nations, 22 states or regions and 31 corporations committed to the rapid transition to renewable energy.


Trade and Transport: 

  • French President Emmanuel Macron repeated his suggestion that trade negotiations have to be consistent with the climate agenda.
  • With a future eye on carbon neutral trade routes, leading ports, banks, oil and shipping companies launched the Getting to Zero Coalition which aims to have ships and marine fuels with zero carbon emissions on the high seas by 2030. The Coalition will cut emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050, ahead of full decarbonization.