9 June 2022
I’m honoured to provide this keynote address at the opening ceremony of the first Technical Dialogue.
In the past 10 months the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a trilogy of reports providing policymakers with the most up-to-date science on climate change. These three reports are a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. Climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet.
We are now busy working to finalise the Synthesis Report with which we will complete the Sixth Assessment Report.
The climate science is clear; our Physical Science Basis report concludes that:
- It is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change and human influence is making extreme climate events, including heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts, more frequent and severe.
- Human activities have warmed the planet at a rate not seen in at least the past 2000 years and we are on course to reaching global warming of 1.5°C within the next two decades.
Our report on Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability shows that these levels of warming are a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet and that the next few years offer a rapidly closing window to realize a sustainable, livable future for all.
- Climate impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. Multiple climate hazards will occur simultaneously. Climate risks will interact with other threats to compound the overall risk. Risks will cascade across sectors and regions.
- Even temporarily exceeding 1.5°C warming will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible.
- We are not on track to achieve a climate resilient, sustainable world. Action on adaptation has increased but progress is uneven and we are not adapting fast enough.
As the mitigation to climate change report concluded, we are not on track to limit warming to 1.5°C. Average annual GHG emissions during the last two decades were the highest in human history.
- Climate change is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways. The changes we experience will increase with further warming.
- Humanity is running out of time to limit global warming to 1.5° Cover pre-industrial levels
Yes, colleagues, we are at crossroads. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.
The IPCC reports throughout this entire cycle focus on solutions.
- There are feasible and effective options we can take to reduce the risks to people and nature, but their effectiveness decreases with increasing warming.
- Worldwide action to achieve climate resilient and sustainable development is more urgent than previously assessed.
- Climate action has been taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up along with the climate finance and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.
- Moreover, our latest report shows that there are options available now in all sectors that can at least halve emissions by 2030.
- We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future.
In concluding, I wish to remind you, that the next few years will be critical, but there are ways to improve our chances of success. International cooperation is key to achieving ambitious climate goals.
- Human-induced climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles, and patterns of consumption and production.
- Climate change increasingly threatens the health and livelihoods of people around the world, and results in severe impacts in nature.
- Accelerated and equitable climate action in mitigating, and adapting to, climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development.
I invite you to reflect on the knowledge we have developed so far which today is stronger than ever to build the decisions to address the climate challenge.