As climate impacts worsen around the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening a roundtable of global climate leaders from government, business and finance, and civil society to showcase high-impact actions and ambition to confront the climate crisis.
The virtual roundtable, scheduled to hold on Thursday, September 24, 2020, will demonstrate leading examples of the Secretary-General’s six climate-positive actions to recover better together: invest in jobs and green business, no bailouts to polluting industries, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, considering climate risks in all decisions and policy-making, working together and ensuring that no one is left behind.
The event will showcase the vast social and economic benefits of a sustainable recovery and of action to limit global warming to 1.5°C by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and to ensure that people and planet are protected from climate change impacts.
Taking place a year and a day after the 2019 Climate Action Summit, which mobilised climate leaders to step up the pace of progress, the Roundtable is part of a major global effort to raise ambition to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Roundtable, says the UN, will be a significant step towards the five-year anniversary of the adoption of the landmark UN treaty on December 12 this year, which will be a vital moment to mobilise greater action and ambition on the pathway to COP26 in November 2021.
Climate impacts are increasing
COVID-19 has not stopped the climate crisis. Carbon emissions are quickly returning to pre-COVID levels, and greenhouse gas concentrations have reached new record highs, according to the latest United in Science report, released on 9 September. The damage inflicted by climate change continues to mount, from worsening wildfires, floods and storms, to rising food insecurity and economic loss.
As the world confronts the pandemic and embarks on recovery, critical decisions being taken now will determine whether the world will return to the high-emissions economy or embark on a new path toward lower emissions and greater sustainability.
The vast scale of COVID-19 fighting and recovery spending can either help drive climate action forward and help keep the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach, or set us back years, which the science dictates we cannot afford if we are to reach the 1.5°C goal.
At the same time, the vast benefits of taking climate action are becoming increasingly clear: more jobs, better health, more equal and resilient societies, and stronger economies. For example, opportunities in renewable energy, building efficiency and other low-carbon industries can create 24 million decent jobs by 2030.
The 90-minute event will feature a roundtable discussion with around 20 global climate leaders from governments, the private sector and civil society, moderated by international journalist and television presenter, Femi Oke.