30 November 2023, Dubai, Unites Arab Emirates
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Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to address the opening of COP28 on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC. We are thankful to the UEA government and UNFCCC for their careful preparation of this conference and generous hospitality.
IPCC’s scientific assessments are ever clearer and more certain about climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
Our planet has warmed by more than 1 degrees Celsius since the preindustrial era, as the result of burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and unsustainable use of resources.
Human activity has led to changes to Earth’s climate of a magnitude unprecedented over centuries and thousands of years. Climate impacts, some of them irreversible, are widespread, rapid and intensifying, from the poles to the tropics, from the mountains to the oceans.
Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, we will not meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The UNEP Gap Report released a few days ago shows that we are headed towards global warming of 3 degrees Celsius if we carry on with current policies. And let us not forget gaps in terms of adaptation and financing.
But there are some promising signs of climate action. In some countries. there have been sustained emissions reductions. These have helped to bend the rising trend in emissions globally. In the past decade, there have been sustained decreases in the costs of renewable energy.
Our assessments have identified multiple options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. These can be implemented right now. But they need to be scaled up and mainstreamed through policies and increased financing.
The IPCC is now gearing up for the seventh assessment cycle.
In less than two months, our 195 member governments will take decisions on the Programme of Work for the rest of this decade of climate action. Our aspiration is to make effective use of the best available science to deliver focused, policy-relevant reports, and to do so in an inclusive fashion that represents all perspectives.
As the Chair of the IPCC, I can reassure you that the scientific community is poised, using the resources available to it, to support the outcomes of COP 28 in shaping climate action based on science. But let us recall, science by itself is no substitute for action.