Stressing ‘1.5°C Limit Is Possible’, Secretary-General Urges International Climate and Energy Summit to Expedite Fossil-Fuel Phase-Out, Net-Zero Timelines

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the International Climate and Energy Summit, in Madrid today:

I am pleased to join you for this International Climate and Energy Summit.  And I thank the Government of Spain and the International Energy Agency for bringing us together.

You meet in Madrid to strengthen the coalition to respond to a defining challenge of our times:  Saving the 1.5°C limit, by cleaning up global energy.  Time is short, but it is possible.  The International Energy Agency’s new Net Zero Roadmap shows us that.  But we need action now.

First, action at COP28 [twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change].  I urge you to work together, in Madrid, and in the United Arab Emirates, to secure a strong outcome in response to the Global Stocktake.  That must include commitments to double energy efficiency, triple renewables capacity, cut methane from the energy sector by 75 per cent, and ensure universal access to energy — all by 2030.

These efforts must be accompanied by a collective commitment to accelerate a fair and just phase-out of fossil fuels, as we bring clean power to all.  One without the other equals failure.

Second, action from Governments.  I have proposed an Acceleration Agenda.  This calls on Governments to speed up net-zero timelines — so that developed countries get there as close as possible to 2040 and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050.  And it urges all Governments to put in place credible actions, policies and plans that are compatible with a 1.5°C world, and for developed countries to deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the crisis.

That includes, amongst other measures, putting a stop to new coal and phasing out existing coal; shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables — subsidies the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates reached $7 trillion last year; and ending new oil and gas licensing.

Developed countries must honour the $100 billion commitment, and replenish the Green Climate Fund.  And we must push the multilateral development banks to adapt their business models to leverage far more private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries so they can reduce emissions and adapt.

Third, we need action from business.  The Acceleration Agenda calls on companies — including fossil fuel companies — to create credible transition plans across the entire value chain.  All this is eminently achievable.

The Climate Ambition Summit I hosted in New York last month indicated a collective way forward.  And it showed that action to meet the 1.5°C limit is not a dream.  It is practical and it is possible.  We know what needs to be done.  Let’s do it.

For information media. Not an official record.