Speaking to G7 climate, energy and environment ministers yesterday, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa called on G7 nations to maintain a firm commitment to multilateralism.
“If promises are not kept, trust will be undermined; and without trust, no collective action is possible,” said Ms. Espinosa.
The G7 environment, climate and energy ministers – from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – are meeting in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 27 May.
The meeting is taking place against a backdrop of accelerating climate impacts and massive geopolitical challenges.
“At our current trajectory, global temperatures will rise 3.2C by the end of this century,” she said.
The commitment to meeting the central Paris Agreement goal of holding global average temperature rise to below 1.5C through the Glasgow Climate Pact entails accelerated action and increased climate ambition.
The world’s landmark agreements to collectively tackle climate change – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chage, the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Pact – were the result of multilateralism.
“They showed a willingness to find common ground and to overcome disagreement,” said Ms. Espinosa. “And, above all, the will to shape together a better future for all.”
Ms. Espinosa laid out a concrete list of priorities, specifically on issues related to national climate plans, and on finance and adaptation.
See the statement below:
It’s a special pleasure to join you here in Germany, the host nation of UN Climate Change and the chair of this important meeting on Climate and Energy at the midpoint of a very challenging year.
These are testing times. As a career-long diplomat and former minister, I appreciate the complexity of the decisions you and your governments are currently facing on several fronts.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has unleashed violence and destruction on innocent people. It is disrupting global energy markets. It is leading to a global food crisis. It is impacting the finance needed to green economies and build resilience.
All of this has not changed, however, the reality of climate change. At our current trajectory, global temperatures will rise 3.2C by the end of this century.
This is not what was agreed in Paris. It is not what you reaffirmed last November at COP26 in Glasgow. And as some of you said earlier this morning, this is not what our societies, specially the youth, find acceptable.
Those landmarks, the Convention, the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Pact, were the result of multilateralism. They showed a willingness to find common ground and to overcome disagreement. And, above all, the will to shape together a better future for all.
The climate change process has been one of the best examples of how the world can come together to address a global challenge.
We need to maintain a firm commitment to multilateralism. And this means strengthening confidence in each other.
If promises are not kept, trust will be undermined; and without trust, no collective action is possible.
It is vital that in the run-up to Sharm el-Sheik we all help to renovate the confidence and unity of purpose that are necessary to move our process forward.
And while climate change is the responsibility of all nations, you have both a special responsibility and a unique opportunity to provide leadership on the road to and at COP27.
The conference has to address many important topics, but three stand out as critical for the success of COP27. A successful outcome requires a balanced package that addresses all of them.
First, mitigation. It is abundantly clear that we are far from where the science tells us that we need to be to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C. Difficult decisions must be taken. And they must be reflected in ever more ambitious Nationally-Determined Contributions and Long-Term Plans.
Second, adaptation. It is imperative that actions commensurate with the magnitude of the problem are duly identified and supported. This is what defining the global goal for adaptation truly means. And the controversial issue of loss and damage must be addressed in a way that is constructive and forward-looking.
Third, the crucial issue of finance. There is still hope that the 100 billion dollar pledge will be met. Beyond the calls for a substantial increase in climate finance and in particular adaptation finance, time and time again, the lack of finance comes up as the main obstacle to effective climate action, whether in capacity building, technology transfer or the consolidation of the enhanced transparency framework.
As a result of this, countries conclude that the promises of support are not genuine, even when the amounts required frequently appear to be relatively small.
We are at a critical point in our process. It is a time to discuss openly and respectfully issues on which there is no agreement. A time for each to strive to understand the challenges that others are facing. And, above all, a time for strong leadership, bold decisions and resolute actions.
There is no other way to live up to your commitments under the Paris Agreement. And, therefore, no other way to save both people and nature.