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Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change: Speech At Opening Segment Of Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, 21 Mar

Excellencies, friends,

The Copenhagen Ministerials have become a crucial touchpoint each year.

This year we meet under the shadow of the WMO’s report showing the latest temperature increases that have been off the charts.

Today I’d like to focus on the solutions.

In Baku in January, I spoke about what it will take to achieve a net zero-emissions world by mid-century.

A world where every nation is safe, opportunities are shared, and 10 billion people are protected from climate impacts.

Where clean energy is abundant and affordable.

The decisions that will get us there will largely be taken over the coming 20 months, building on the successes of Dubai and the UAE Consensus.

I want take this opportunity to commend Dr Sultan and your team for your incredible leadership in getting us to that point. You made a real difference.

At the end of this year, we need to agree on a New Collective Quantified Goal for climate finance.

To undo the deadlock between developed and developing countries we need to make climate finance bigger and better.

Bigger – to meet developing countries’ growing needs.

Better, by finding new sources of finance for global climate action.

Bigger, to ensure investment in resilience, maximising the ability of National Adaptation Plans to attract financial support.

Better, by reforming development banks, recapitalising them for climate, and making the most of their resources.

This will come out of a working level process, but ultimately it is those around the table here - at the political level - who have the responsibility of getting the agreement over the line.

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We’re talking trillions, not billions. That is going to require more from all sources and serious conversations about making new innovative sources real, rather than just words on a page.

Let’s cast our minds forward to December 2025. By this time we must have welcomed a new generation of national climate plans.

These NDCs 3.0 are the investment plans for the future.

As I wrote to you all last week, these new NDCs for 2035 are due less than a year from now.

It’s equally vital that your 2030 targets are boosted in parallel, wherever possible.

Both will be decisive in limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees this century, and averting the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

The more each nation treats its new national climate plans as an economy-wide blueprint for growth and jobs, the more opportunity and security it will provide its people.

Setting a bold climate course will enable countries to drive business investment, productivity and rising living standards.

NDCs 3.0 which double as national investment plans can steer economies towards growth-driving industries and services fueled by renewable energy.

The benefits will be even greater when these plans also boost skills and workforce participation, particularly for women.

If we halve greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, while tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency, we will also help free countries from the vagaries [of] volatile fossil fuels prices.

Pollution will drop sharply, saving millions of lives, and delivering major budget savings for governments and taxpayers.

To take these plans from economic blueprints to shovel-ready projects to real economy outcomes will require a sea-change in climate finance, especially for vulnerable developing economies facing gale-force financial headwinds and high-borrowing costs.

By drawing up ambitious climate investment plans, countries help create the demand that is needed.

It’s also crucial that current climate commitments are fully and promptly implemented, with transparency and accountability.

Your biennial transparency reports can show the world the progress being made. I urge you to submit them as soon as possible and by year’s end at the latest.

In this talk of climate finance and transparency, I do need to mention that our organization, the UNFCCC, now faces severe financial challenges.

These challenges were highlighted through the course of last year, throughout the budget negotiations with Parties for the new Biennium for 2024/25.

Our budget is currently less than half funded. We are attempting to meet an ever-growing mandate, while also meeting the many challenges outlined today.

Our job is to make your job easier. To carry out the tasks you have all agreed we should do, but we can only do this if we have the funding support.

I wrote to you all last week. This is me once again ringing that alarm bell. I urge you to respond as soon as possible, to ensure you get the support you need and have requested from us.

On climate action - we’re now in the race to the top. Every country has a choice: plan for a better economy and fix finance for a better world, or miss out on the opportunities others are reaping.

I thank you, and I look forward to the discussions over the next couple of days.

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