Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, has called on countries to provide the necessary leadership to achieve the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Ms. Espinosa, who made the submission while speaking to the Environment and Energy Ministers of G20 nations in Naples, Italy, on Friday, July 23, 2021, stated that the leadership is required to hold the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This, according to her, is in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, which include ever more frequent and severe droughts, floods and fires of the type the world is witnessing right now.
The UN’s top climate change official recalled that the G20 was founded in response to the 2008 financial crisis, with the goal of achieving global economic stability and sustainable growth.
“The G20 accounts for 80 per cent of all global emissions. There is no path to 1.5C without the G20,” she said.
“Climate change is – without exception – detrimental to that goal. It is therefore in the best interests of all G20 nations to harness its collective diversity to build consensus and work in a unity of purpose to address the most significant challenge standing in the path of that goal,” she added.
Only 97 countries have submitted updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement – less than half of all signatory countries of the Paris Agreement. Patricia Espinosa called on G20 nations to show leadership by presenting more ambitious NDCs in line with science.
She also reminded developed countries of their pledge to mobilise $100 billion annually to developing nations by 2020, a commitment made in the UNFCCC process more than a decade ago.
“It’s time to deliver. How can we expect nations to make more ambitious climate commitments for tomorrow if today’s have not yet been met?” she said.
Ms. Espinosa highlighted the fact that resources for adaptation and resilience building are critical for the vast majority of developing countries. Because of this, 50 per cent of the total share of climate finance needs to be allocated to adaptation and resilience.
And she called on nations and businesses to align their portfolios and activities to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Regarding the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November, the UN Climate Change Chief urged governments to achieve consensus in areas where differences remain, including Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (relating to carbon markets), transparency of climate action and capacity building for developing countries.
“Each of these issues must be resolved in order to fully implement the Paris Agreement. We’ve been working on implementing the agreement for five years. We have run out of time. (…) I ask you to come to COP26 determined to succeed,” she said.