New York Climate Week: “We need to recognize the urgency we face”- Patricia Espinosa
Sep25

New York Climate Week: “We need to recognize the urgency we face”- Patricia Espinosa

New York Climate Week: “We need to recognize the urgency we face”- Patricia Espinosa At the opening ceremony of New York Climate Week on monday 24th, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, called for more urgency in taking climate action and stressed the need for leadership and a committed multilateral response. Her address   Seventhy-three years ago, nations—ravaged by war, weary of its costs—pledged to achieve what had, for the first half of the century, been impossible: a lasting peace. The signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco was more than an agreement to get along. It established a rules-based international order, championed multilateralism over self-interest, and clarified that the path forward was not through conflict but collaboration.We bear the fruit of that work. Today, many are healthier, better educated, and more peaceful than at any point in history.ut humanity faces a new challenge; one that threatens current and future generations. The Paris Agreement Climate change is an opponent we shaped with our own hands, but whose power now threatens to overwhelm us. Throughout the world, extreme heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods are leaving a trail of devastation and death.Developing countries suffer the worst, but climate change affects all nations—directly and indirectly. It’s a challenge that a rules-based international order is custom-designed to address—which led to the Paris Agreement. Like the UN Charter itself, its signing was an unprecedented multilateral success. But nations are not living up to what they promised. Under it, nations agreed to limit climate change to 2-degrees Celsius—ideally 1.5C. These targets are the bare minimum to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But what nations have currently pledged under Paris will bring the global temperature up about 3C by 2100. Let us be clear: low ambition leads to a future where humanity no longer controls its own fate—runaway climate change does. Recent negotiations in Bangkok on the Paris Agreement’s implementation guidelines made some progress, but not enough. Recognizing the urgency We must therefore work harder than ever between now and COP24 to complete this work. We need to see leadership, we need to recognize the urgency we face, and we need to make a commitment to a decisive multilateral response. We have no other option. This means that we must listen to the voices of billions who understand that time itself is a dwindling resource when it comes to climate change. We must listen also to those who understand that addressing climate change provides extraordinary opportunity and are acting. Just as 73 years ago the UN Charter was signed in San Francisco and then moved to New York City……we’ve also just arrived from...

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UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue
Jan27

UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue

UNFCCC: A new gate for the Talanoa Dialogue The UN Climate Change secretariat launched yesterday a new portal to support the Talanoa Diaologue, an important international conversation in which countries will check progress and seek to increase global ambition to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. By Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache   How will it work? Through the portal, all countries and other stakeholders, including business, investors, cities, regions and civil society, are invited to make submissions into the Talanoa Dialogue around three central questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? Countries and non-Party stakeholders will be contributing ideas, recommendations and information that can assist the world in taking climate action to the next level in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Talanoa Dialogue The Dialogue was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn in November 2017 and will run throughout 2018. The Paris Agreement’s central goal is keep the global average temperature rise to below 2C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5C. Current global ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare societies to resist increasing climate change is not enough to achieve this under the current national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). “The portal is the gateway for the Talanoa Dialogue. It represents the central point for everyone to make their views heard around enhanced ambition. Additionally, it will make available other key resources for the dialogue,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “I very much welcome the portal because it provides transparency and broadens participation in the dialogue. I look forward to many governments and other actors making their submissions via the portal as part of world-wide efforts required for the next level of climate action and ambition”, she said. The Pacific island concept of ‘Talanoa’ was introduced by Fiji, which held the Presidency of the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference. It aims at an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of the concept is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The Talanoa method purposely avoids blame and criticism to create a safe space for the exchange of ideas and collective decision-making. The Talanoa Dialogue will be constructive, facilitative and oriented towards providing solutions and will see both technical and political exchanges....

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The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column
Oct11

The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column

  The November UN Climate Conference: an opportunity to integrate risk management- Column By, Patricia Espinosa, Achim Steiner and Robert Glasser* From Miami and Puerto Rico to Barbuda and Havana, the devastation of this year’s hurricane season across Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a reminder that the impacts of climate change know no borders. In recent weeks, Category 5 hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in the Caribbean and on the American mainland. Harvey, Irma and Maria have been particularly damaging. The 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico have been scrambling for basic necessities including food and water, the island of Barbuda has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of Dominica. The impact is not confined to this region. The record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have made life miserable for some 40 million people.  More than 1,200 people have died and many people have lost their homes, crops have been destroyed, and many workplaces have been inundated. Meanwhile, in Africa, over the last 18 months 20 countries have declared drought emergencies, with major displacement taking place across the Horn region. For those countries that are least developed the impact of disasters can be severe, stripping away livelihoods and progress on health and education; for developed and middle-income countries the economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive; for both, these events reiterate the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters. A (shocking) sign of things to come? The effects of a warmer climate on these recent weather events, both their severity and their frequency, has been revelatory for many, even the overwhelming majority that accept the science is settled on human-caused global warming. While the silent catastrophe of 4.2 million people dying prematurely each year from ambient pollution, mostly related to the use of fossil fuels, gets relatively little media attention, the effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on extreme weather events is coming into sharper focus. It could not be otherwise when the impacts of these weather events are so profound. During the last two years over 40 million people, mainly in countries which contribute least to global warming, were forced either permanently or temporarily from their homes by disasters. There is clear consensus: rising temperatures are increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding in some places, and drought in others. Some areas experience both, as was the case this year in California, where record floods followed years of intense drought. TOPEX/Poseidon, the first satellite to precisely...

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COP 23- CLIMATE ACTION: “We must be champions for change”- Patricia Espinosa
Juin22

COP 23- CLIMATE ACTION: “We must be champions for change”- Patricia Espinosa

Speaking recently at the conference “Austrian World Summit: From Sustainable Goals to Real Action”, organized by the group R20 Regions of Climate Action, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa  addressed a statement on society collective responsibility in climate action. Read her full address below. Everyone is a hero Let me start by thanking R20 for the invitation to join you for the first Austrian World Summit. This summit opens at a crucial moment for the future of humanity. We have in our hands all the elements needed for meeting the climate change challenge, transforming reality and opening the door to a secure and stable future for all. In moments of great change, we have seen over and over again great people rising to lead this change. Now is truly a moment for these ‘action heroes’ and champions.People from all walks of life, and in all countries and on all continents, must carry the flag for sustainable development and action on climate change. Every level of society, every community and every sector of every economy must be involved. Austria, in convening this inaugural World Summit, is declaring itself an action hero – thank you Chancellor Kern and President Van der Bellen.Arnold Schwarzenegger, is another action hero not just for his work in film and as Governor of California, but for his establishment of R20 and highly visible advocacy.He is joined by UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg and Jerry Brown, the current governor of the State of California, and who has been designated by the Prime Minister of Fiji, in his role as President of COP 23, as special envoy for states and regions for this years’ climate change conference. Champions of climate action.Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, whose foundation is funding renewable energy projects in many R20 members, is also a hero. As are the scientists who help us understand the challenge, the public and private sector leaders that have recently reiterated support for the principles of Paris and every individual who makes a climate-conscious choice. Making the difference And when we mention these remarkable people and institutions, we also must look no further than the DSG Amina J Mohamed and her tireless work to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and now to implement them. This immense and important task is supported by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who himself champions the fact that “implementing the 2030 Agenda goes hand-in-glove with limiting global temperature rise and increasing climate resilience” and sees action on climate change as a tremendous opportunity. Our UN organization, the climate change secretariat, recognizes those who are making a difference through...

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Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked
Mar26

Climate and Development Agendas Are Inherently Linked

Speaking at the opening of the President of the General Assembly High-Level Event Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda in New York on 23 March, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that the sustainable development and climate change agendas are inherently linked. “By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there,” she said. Here is her full address: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Let me first recognize the President of the General Assembly and the Government of Fiji for your climate leadership. Today’s special event is the latest in a long list that is your lasting legacy of leadership on this critical issue. Thank you for shining a light on vulnerability through your work in the Pacific Islands Forum and Climate Vulnerable Forum. Thank you for your bold Paris Agreement contribution of 100 per cent renewable power by 2030. Thank you for being the first to ratify the Paris Agreement. And thank you for your excellent partnership as COP 23 President in preparation of this year’s UN climate change conference. I must also express my sincere gratitude to the Secretary-General for making the connection between climate change and the sustainable development agenda and calling for an integrated approach to our challenges. Your vision of preventing future risk through stronger institutions, more resilient societies and bold action must guide every nation forward through the sometimes turbulent waters of transformative change. How far is the Paris Agreement ? One hundred and thirty-seven Member States are working towards that vision by ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This is both a crucial step towards concerted action on climate change and a step towards truly sustainable development. As the international community takes these important initial steps in this new era of implementation, we must do so with the full knowledge that the sustainable development agenda and climate change agenda are inherently linked. These challenges must be addressed in an integrated manner because there is only one on-the-ground reality. By looking at climate and sustainability holistically, we maximize the potential for positive outcomes of every action we take. And when international commitments are turned into country-level action, tangible benefits are delivered to communities and the people who live there. Implementation is the policy that meets these commitments. And we must move quickly to put this policy in place. We must bend...

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