1 July 2021

Phasing Out Coal, Spending Half of Developing Countries’ Climate Finance on Adaptation Key for Reaching Net-Zero Emissions, Secretary-General Tells Austria World Summit

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Austria World Summit, held today:

Excellencies, Friends,

I thank the Austrian Government and Arnold Schwarzenegger for this important annual Summit.

As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic we have a unique opportunity to restore balance with nature, end the pollution crisis and tackle the climate emergency.  It is imperative that we cut global emissions by 45 per cent compared to 2010 so we can reach net zero emissions by 2050.

That means more leaders stepping forward.  It means more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions this year backed by concrete policies and actions to cut emissions and support adaptation.  And it means businesses, cities and the financial sector committing to their own decarbonization and adaptation plans.

All plans and initiatives must be ambitious, credible and verifiable.  COP26 [Twenty-sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)] must provide assurance that the 1.5-degree goal is attainable.

I see three immediate priorities.  First, this must be the decade when renewable energy overtakes fossil fuels.  That means phasing out coal and investing in a just transition.  Every high carbon sector — including steel, cement, buildings, transport, shipping and aviation — must be on a net-zero pathway.

Second, developed countries must deliver on their promise to provide $100 billion each year to developing countries.  This is a matter of trust.  Third, 50 per cent of climate finance in support of the developing world must go to adaptation, with easier access to finance for the most vulnerable.

This Summit can advance all these goals.  I wish you a successful meeting.

For information media. Not an official record.