Statement by IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee during the Opening of UNFCCC COP27

Sharm-El-Sheikh, Sunday 06 November 2022


Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC – I’m delighted and honoured to address you at the opening of COP27.

We are very grateful to the Egyptian government and the presidency of COP27 for hosting this crucial conference. We also want to extend our thanks to the people of Sharm-El-Sheikh for their warmest welcome and generous hospitality. Thank you.

The voice of today´s science on climate change could not be sharper, stronger, and more sobering: we are not on track today to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The time for our collective action is – now.

IPCC reports presented to the world in February and April this year clearly show that we have the technology and the know-how to tackle climate change.

But these options are limited by the availability of finance among others. Adaptation options are further limited by global warming levels. With increasing global warming, losses and damages will increase and additional human and natural systems will be pushed to adaptation limits. Therefore, the prerequisite to successful adaptation is ambitious mitigation to keep global warming within limits, particularly below 1.5°C – through immediate and deep cuts in the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Progress on the financial flows comparable to the goals of the Paris Agreement remains low.

Accelerated international financial cooperation is a critical enabler of low emission and just transition.

Adaptation gaps, especially in developing countries, are particularly driven by widening disparities between the costs of adaptation and financing available to adaptation.

We can achieve the greatest gains in well-being by prioritizing finance to reduce climate risks for low-income and marginalized communities.

Since the Paris Agreement, many countries have put in place climate laws, climate policies, and regulations. But their scope needs to be expanded, their ambition raised and implemented.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save our planet and our livelihoods.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates, this is an opportunity as well as an obligation.

The range of options and, most of all, the time available to them now will not be there for future leaders and policymakers.

Before closing, allow me to reassure you that the scientific community remains ready to work with you and support you in every step of the way in this journey to limit global warming and also of achieving sustainable development.

Humanity, our planet, and all species living on it deserve nothing less.  

Thank you very much.