Crucial Role of High-Level Champions Recognized by UN Climate Chief

Today, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa recognized the hugely important work of the High-Level Champions during an event at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

The two High-Level Champions are: Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow, Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Ministry of Environment in Poland, and Mr. Gonzalo Muñoz, a social entrepreneur from Chile and Co-Founder and CEO of the recycling company TriCiclos. Mr. Chruszczow was also a High-Level Champion in 2018 and is a long-time veteran of the UNFCCC process who has worn many hats, while Mr. Muñoz received the World Economic Forum’s Circulars Award 2019.

In Bonn, the champions presented the 2019 – 2020 work plan for the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. The Marrakech Partnership supports implementation of the Paris Agreement by enabling collaboration between governments and the cities, regions, businesses and investors on climate action.

Ms.  Espinosa reminded those present at the event “Conversations with the High-Level Champions,” that this is a climate emergency and that we must respond in kind:

 “Nations are not on track to achieving their goals. They’re not even close. We have one ultimate goal as a civilization if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change: to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. We are dreadfully off course.”

2019 and the near future, she said, must be about significantly advancing the pace of deep, transformational change that will result in a more sustainable future. She highlighted the crucial role of the champions and the Marrakesh Partnership in this regard.

“The High-Level Champions and the Marrakech Partnership coalitions—as well as their initiatives—have been instrumental for raising both the visibility and success of Non-Party Stakeholder action.”

The only way forward, she said, was for all segments of society to join forces and work towards four numbers:

  1. 1.5 degrees: The number at which we must limit global temperature rise if we’re to escape the worst impacts of climate change.
  2. 2050: The date by which the world must achieve carbon neutrality if we’re to have a chance of reaching our ultimate climate goal.
  3. 2030: The date by which we must have limited global emissions by 45% – only 12 years from now.
  4. 2020: The date by which new and revised national climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), are due.

As they currently stand, the NDCs will more than double our 1.5 temperature goal, Ms. Espinosa said, underlining the need for much greater collective ambition.

The high-level champions underscored the need to mobilize all non-Party stakeholders, and to ensure that frameworks are available for the transparency not only of governmental action, but of the actions of businesses, investors, cities and regions, based on proper data, and proper data collection.

Read the full speech here (as prepared for delivery): 

I’d like to welcome all of you here and begin by recognizing our two High-Level Champions.

First, Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow, who is Special Envoy for Climate Change from the Ministry of Environment in Poland. He was also a High-Level Champion in 2018 and a long-time veteran of the UNFCCC process who has worn many hats.

I’d also like to recognize Mr. Gonzalo Muñoz, who is a social entrepreneur from Chile and is the Co-Founder and CEO of TriCiclos. He’s also the recipient of the Circulars Award 2019, which was awarded by the World Economic Forum.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I know we’re all eager to hear today’s discussion, so let me briefly provide some context before we begin.

In this age, facts are important. So, here are the facts.

While nations have made important progress in the last year, the world remains far behind in the climate change challenge.

Nations are not on track to achieving their goals. They’re not even close. We have one ultimate goal as a civilization if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change: to limit global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. We are dreadfully off course.

We know climate change will impact all people. It will affect some sooner, some later, but we will all be affected.

It will make people sicker, it will lead to battles over resources like water and more. We have already seen some of these things happening. This is a climate emergency and we must respond in kind.

That means 2019 and the near future must be about more than just change. It must be about significantly advancing the pace of change needed to reflect this emergency we collectively face.

Specifically, I’m talking about the deep, transformational and systemic change that is needed throughout society—change that will result in a low-emissions, highly-resilient and more sustainable future.

We know governments can’t do this alone. It will take the combined efforts of all segments of society—including Non-Party Stakeholders such as businesses, investors, cities, subnational regions and civil society.

Together we must work towards three numbers.

The first is 1.5 degrees. That’s our long-term goal, our ultimate goal—the number at which we must limit global temperature rise if we’re to escape the worst impacts of climate change.

The second number is 2050. That’s the date by which the world must achieve carbon neutrality if we’re to have a chance to achieve our ultimate climate goal.

The third number is 2030. That’s the date by which we must have limited global emissions by 45 per cent. We’ve got 12 years left to do it. This may seem like a lot of time—it’s not.

Consider this: the time between the Rio Convention in 1992 and the adoption of last year’s Paris Agreement Work Program was 26 years—almost three decades.

The timeline is short, the goals are incredibly tough to meet, but that’s our challenge. We must meet them. It’s our responsibility.

With that in mind, I add a fourth number: 2020 – the date by which new and revised NDCs are due. Simply put, they must be more ambitious than they are now.

As they currently stand, the NDCs will more than double our 1.5 temperature goal. And that means an extremely dangerous, very unpredictable future for humanity—the recent IPCCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees made this clear.

This makes your role and the role of the Marrakech Partnership incredibly important.

The High-Level Champions and the Marrakech Partnership coalitions—as well as their initiatives—have been instrumental for raising both the visibility and success of Non-Party Stakeholder (NPS) action.

For example, over the last few years, you’ve enhanced visibility of NPS as actors and not just observers.

This has led to better collaboration not only between Parties and NPS but also across different sectors.

You facilitated the participation of over 100 high-level non-Party leaders to attend COP 24.

And the Champions have supported and encouraged the participation of more than 170 non-Party stakeholders, including leaders, for the Talanoa Dialogue at the SBs at COP 24.

You play a crucial role and we look forward to that role continuing here today.

Conversations like this one are important as every single one of you here can inspire each other and trigger change back home.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I want to end by mentioning that you can provide key support in another area: helping bridge the political divide we all face in the pursuit of our climate goals.

We have to—all of us—understand that climate change doesn’t recognize our boundaries. It doesn’t recognize our politics. It doesn’t care if we’re left wing, right wing or undecided. It’s coming all the same, and it’s going to get worse if we don’t do more to address it.

I want you, as Champions, to help drive that message home. Everyone here needs to do the same.

Let’s get on with the how. Let’s get to our discussion.

We at UN Climate Change thank you for your work and we look forward to working with and supporting the Champions.

Thank you.

Information taken from: https://unfccc.int/news/crucial-role-of-high-level-champions-recognized-by-un-climate-chief

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