UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, has said that the upcoming political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue to be held in December at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, will be an unprecedented opportunity for visualising and realising a climate-safe future. Ms. Espinosa spoke at the EU for Talanoa Conference in Brussels, convened by the European Union
The Talanoa Dialogue and everything we’re doing in this crucial year leading up to COP24 in Poland – including your work here – is about greater confidence, courage and raising ambition.
Confidence that we have determination to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and that, in doing so, we will deliver a better future for all.
This includes for those who will be affected by the changes that need to be put in place.
Courage to take on the challenge, to work hard and to withstand the difficulties we may encounter in the road towards a low-emissions and climate-resilient future.
And, finally, enhance ambition, as a response to the fact that we are far from meeting the goals of Paris.
This means taking more action to reduce emissions and have those reflected in nationally-determined contributions.
This year, the Talanoa Dialogue has brought government and non-government actors together to share stories about climate change and climate action.
It’s about visualising the future and identifying ways to making it a reality.
The political phase of the dialogue is an unprecedented opportunity.
In it, ministers and non-Party leaders will take this information and generate the necessary political momentum to move forward.
The stories shared so far have been both concerning and encouraging.
They all make a strong case for enhancing ambition.
Some have described how the impacts of extreme weather are leading to loss of lives and livelihoods.
Small Island states, for example, have described the devastation caused by extreme weather events.
Counties in Africa have referred to the impact of drought on food security while, at the same time, urban centres are overwhelmed by flooding.
At the same time, we’ve been encouraged by stories from national and sub-national governments, businesses, civil society and others, on steps they are taking to address climate chance.
A broad area has been covered.
This includes policy, policy, regulatory frameworks and incentive programmes by governments.
It includes science-based targets by industries.
And it includes positive and active campaigns and programmers by civil society.
Equally encouraging were the stories not only about cooperation between governments, but also between governments and non-government actors.
These have focused on regulation, incentive programmes, research and finance.
Despite all this progress, the scientific community also has a story to tell.
And that’s the story of how our current ambition does not set us on track to limiting temperature rise well below 2C, and even less to below 1.5 C.
In fact, these stories raise the alarm of a world warming above 3-degrees Celsius, or more.
This is what underlies everything we do – this urgency that presses us forward, keeps us grounded in the present while looking to the future.
And that brings us a final set of stories describing the world we envisage.
These are inspiring stories – ones we look to draw both lessons and hope.
Stories describing countries or businesses that run 100% on renewable energy.
Stories about communities that have halted deforestation, stories about cities where electric vehicles are the norm and many more.
These stories share a similar message: citizens across the world demand a world free of greenhouse gas emissions.
And they believe such future is absolutely possible – with available and planned technologies.
The stories also reinforce the idea that no single individual or group can achieve the goals of Paris on its own.
If we act in isolation, we’ll never get to where we need to be. But if we work together, we can accomplish anything.
This is where the Talanoa Dialogue comes in. And, so far, it has been incredibly successful.
But now let’s look to where we go from here.
The political phase of the dialogue will take place at COP 24, through a series of meetings and round tables.
This is where all the information collected, including from meetings like this, will provide the base for discussions.
Its where, during the ministerial round tables, ministers, CEOs, heads of agencies and leaders from the civil society will consider the question of “how do we get there?”
This exercise will be the first of its kind.
It has the potential of generating the necessary courage, confidence and greater ambition on climate change action.
I am optimistic about this process.
The Presidencies, Poland and Fiji, have a great willingness and a great responsibility to lead the political discussions in the right direction…
…one that brings us all together and encourages all nations to act.
I also believe it’s a good opportunity to develop a common vision for the short term…
…one that connects important milestones such as the upcoming requirements for NDCs and long term strategies in 2020, and the first global stock take in 2023.
What should that vision include?
First, a strong determination to increase ambition in reducing emissions and increasing resilience in view of the current gap to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.
We must remember that, in the context of the Paris Agreement, ambition is a global obligation.
Finance is another key area where we need a serious investment of ambition.
We need to increase the financing and investment needed to make our climate goals under the Paris Agreement happen, in line with the current financing pledges.
Government action through regulation will also be key to guide the transformation towards a low emissions and climate resilient society.
Such regulation should reflect what many businesses and citizens are calling for.
Technology cooperation, both for dissemination and research is equally important.
The vision should shed light on where countries should be putting their short and medium term efforts on technology dissemination and research.
Businesses will need clear signals and encouragement to act.
Ideally, the vision should point to near and medium term directions, building on what some businesses are already doing.
We also need signals to increase technical cooperation.
There is much to learn from each other as there are great challenges to be addressed. We should be able to identify where cooperation will yield best benefits in the few years to come.
Finally, we need to encourage the civil society to continue to be engaged and be a motor of the transformation.
This dialogue has been and must continue to be a process about our common aspirations and aims.
Let it continue to inspire our work and our ongoing vision. Not only to fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement, or to increase ambition – although these are all very important but to help us achieve our ultimate goal, and that is to build a world that is cleaner, greener and more prosperous for all.