As world leaders gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York this morning to officially sign the Paris Agreement on climate change – the landmark accord that sets outs a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous global warming – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Member States to move quickly to join the accord at the national level so that it can enter into force as early as possible.
“Let us never forget – climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits,” the UN chief said as he opened the High Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement in the General Assembly Hall.
The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create.
“It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women,” he added.
Mr. Ban underscored that while it is good news that States are breaking records at the UN – records are also being broken outside.
“Record global temperatures. Record ice loss. Record carbon levels in the atmosphere. We are in a race against time,” Mr. Ban stressed.
Indeed, he emphasized that the window for keeping global temperate rise well below two degrees Celsius – let alone 1.5 degrees – is “rapidly closing.”
“The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” the Secretary-General said.
In that vein, the UN chief highlighted that climate action is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Today is a day that I have worked toward since day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations and declared climate change to be my top priority. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future,” he said.
The covenant must amount to “more than promises,” Mr. Ban stressed, and find expression in actions taken today on behalf of the current generation and all future generations.
“It must find expression in actions we take today on behalf of this generation and all future generations – actions that reduce climate risk and protect communities, and actions that place us on a safer, smarter path,” the Secretary-General said.
Mr. Ban highlighted that participants would be joined at the morning’s events by 197 children, representing the Parties that have adopted the Paris Agreement.
“Of course, they represent more than this. These young people are our future. Our covenant is with them,” he said.
“Today is a day for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come. Together, let us turn the aspirations of Paris into action. As you show by the very act of signing today, the power to build a better world is in your hands,” Mr. Ban concluded.
Today’s event coincides with International Mother Earth Day, and in his message on the Day, Mr. Ban said that the Paris accord, in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, holds the power to transform our world.
Story courtesy of United Nations