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The leadership of the G20 is crucial in securing a safer future

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Photo: Cristina Lacerda

Ban Ki-moon addresses leaders at the F20 Climate Solutions Forum, emphasising the need for G20 leaders to step up their climate commitments ahead of climate COP26 in Glasgow. 

Greetings to all gathered for this F20 Climate Solutions Forum.

I am honoured to be addressing this forum at an important moment, in a critical year, and at the start of what will be a defining decade for humanity.

There are only two weeks before the first part of the biodiversity COP15 begins in Kunming and only four weeks until G20 leaders meet in Rome and the world comes together for COP26 in Glasgow.

The decisions leaders make this year - and in the next few years - will determine what kind of future we bestow on generations to come.

The past 12 months have marked an inflection point for climate action. The pandemic has exposed the systemic failures that can lead to ecological and health crises, and can deepen existing inequalities. We have also witnessed growing recognition of the absolute urgency of the climate crisis. However, as yet, global efforts to address the climate crisis fall far short of what is needed.

Leaders have before them a remarkable, but narrowing, window of opportunity.

The leadership of the G20 is crucial in securing a safer future. The G20 represent 90% of global GDP, 80% of world trade, and 80% of emissions. What happens at the G20 at the end of October is arguably the most important influencing factor for COP26. 

I see five potential pillars to support success that I urge G20 leaders to act on:

Firstly, some G20 countries have already submitted stronger Nationally Determined Contributions. Those G20 countries still lagging behind must follow suit in the run-up to Glasgow.

Secondly, it is essential that rich countries – including the US, Italy and Australia - demonstrate well before Glasgow that the promised $100bn of finance for poorer countries will materialise, with a higher share for adaptation. We need to close the growing chasm between accelerating needs and broken promises.

Thirdly, we must end the use of coal. A positive outcome would be a 'no-coal' compact between governments, bolstered by a just transition for workers so no one is left behind.  

Fourthly, I stand behind business calling for the G20 to remove fossil fuel subsidies - ideally by 2025 - and for a meaningful price on carbon.  I also hope the G20 will agree to adopt ‘mandatory climate risk disclosure’ so that investors can reward those that are part of the solution. 

Finally, we must protect our forests, oceans and other ecosystems. Any effort to stay on a 1.5C pathway means developing more sustainable systems of agriculture and land use.

G20 nations have understandably found themselves embroiled in tackling the pandemic at home. However, as we have learnt with the pandemic, global crises require global solutions.

Through global, coordinated, and concerted action the G20 must now not only deliver on their promises but lead boldly with new commitments in line with 1.5 degrees. Heads of State have an exceptional opportunity and obligation to do what is needed so the world can avert climate disaster and it is imperative that the G20 pull in the same direction on this critical effort.

Thank you.

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