Messaggio del Segretario Generale al lancio del rapporto sullo Stato del Clima Globale nel 2020



19 April 2021 

Welcome, all the members of the press.

This is a frightening report.

It needs to be read by all leaders and decision-makers in the world.

2020 was an unprecedented year for people and the planet.

It was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this report shows that 2020 was also another unprecedented year of extreme weather and climate disasters.

The cause is clear.

Anthropogenic climate change — climate disruption caused by human activities, human decisions and human folly.

The effects are disastrous.

The data in this report should alarm us all.

2020 was 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than pre-industrial times.

We are getting dangerously close to the 1.5 degree Celsius limit that was set by the scientific community.

We are on the verge of the abyss.

The six years since 2015 have been the hottest on record.

In June, temperatures reached 38 degrees Celsius at Verkhoyansk in Russia, the highest recorded temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.

Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases continued to climb.

Carbon dioxide concentrations rose to a new high — 410.5 parts per million.

That is a 148 per cent increase above pre-industrial levels.

The number of tropical cyclones globally was above average in 2020.

There were 98 named tropical storms.

This was mostly driven by high activity in the North Atlantic, which had more than double the long-term average and an absolute record.

Widespread drought in the United States drove the largest wildfires ever recorded in California and Colorado.

In Brazil, drought fuelled serious wildfires in the Pantanal wetlands.

In the Arctic, the annual minimum sea-ice extent in September 2020 was the second lowest on record.

The Greenland ice sheet lost 152 billion metric tonnes of ice from September 2019 to August 2020.

Antarctica’s loss of ice also increased.

And consequently, the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating.

Now, our challenge is clear.

To avert the worst impacts of climate change, science tells us that we must limit global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees of the pre-industrial baseline.

That means reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

We are way off track.

This must be the year for action – the make it or break it year.

There are a number of concrete advances I expect before COP26 in Glasgow this November.

First, we must agree to a common direction of travel.

The United Nations has been pushing for a global coalition committed to net zero emissions – to cover all countries, cities, regions, businesses and financial institutions.

Second, the next 10 years need to be a decade of transformation.

Countries need to submit ambitious new nationally determined contributions that were designed by the Paris Agreement.  Their climate plans for the next 10 years must be much more efficient.

Third, we need those commitments and plans to be backed up with concrete immediate action. 

The trillions of dollars spent on COVID-19 recovery must be aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Subsidies to polluting fossil fuels must be shifted to renewable energy.

And developed countries must lead in phasing out coal — by 2030 in OECD countries, and 2040 elsewhere.

No new coal power plants should be built.

Countries should also work to ensure a just transition where opportunities outweigh jobs lost.

According to the International Labour Organization, 25 million jobs can be created in a green transition with only 7 million lost.

Developed countries also need to deliver on climate finance for the developing world, particularly the promise of $100 billion dollars per year.

Half of all climate finance from donors and multilateral and national development banks must flow to resilience and adaptation, from a much lower level of 20 per cent today.

This is necessary to protect our societies from the disastrous weather and climate events that are here to stay.

Access to these sources of finance must also be made easier for the most vulnerable.

As we know, populations that are hit the hardest by the impacts of climate change also suffer more from other vulnerabilities.

The increase in food insecurity since 2014 is being driven by conflict, economic slowdown as well as climate change.

Twelve out of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate impacts were in conflict.

Finally, we need radical changes from all financial institutions, public and private, to ensure that they fund sustainable and resilient development for all and move away from a grey and inequitable economy. 

I count first on developed countries to deliver on climate finance and, as I mentioned, the promised 100 billion dollars a year at the G7 Summit in June.

Then, I will urge the G20 countries to take on the greening of the broader financial architecture, to address debt and make climate-related financial disclosure mandatory.

This is truly a pivotal year for humanity’s future.

This report shows we have no time to waste.

Climate disruption is here.

I urge everyone to take the message of this report to heart.

Let us all commit to act to stabilize our climate and to end our war on nature.

Thank you.