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UNFCC: Government Ministers at COP27 Call for More Ambitious Climate Action

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The first high-level ministerial roundtable on pre-2030 ambition took place at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 yesterday, with a collective call to urgently ramp up climate action and support.

The roundtable, a new annual event to set the global direction on mitigation ambition and implementation that should be taken before 2030, opened with a stark report from UN Climate Change. According to the report, the world is way off track to stay below the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.

The report showed implementation of current pledges by national governments would increase emissions by 10.6% by 2030 and put the world on track for a 2.5°C warmer world by the end of the century.

“This is the context we are in,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell. “The world is bending the curve of greenhouse gas emissions downward, but these efforts remain woefully insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

“That’s peaking in two years, folks,” said Stiell. “If that is to happen, we have to send a clear signal from COP27 to policy makers, markets, and individuals – that this is happening.”

Stiell called for an ambitious mitigation work programme launched at COP27 that would reduce emissions faster, catalyze impactful action, and secure assurances from key countries that they will take immediate action to raise ambition and keep us on the path towards 1.5°C.

“The conference decision on the mitigation work programme – the decision that all Parties support – must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change,” said Stiell.

Jim Skea, the IPCC’s Working Group III Co-Chair, injected a sense of hope into the roundtable discussions by showing there are solutions in all sectors that can be deployed immediately to close the gap by 2030.

According to the IPCC, these mitigation solutions have the potential to halve emissions from 2019 levels by 2030 and cost less than USD 100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Pointing to the vast potential in the energy sector, for example, Skea said the costs of wind and solar have dropped dramatically in recent years. He also highlighted the huge potential of emission reductions in agriculture, land use and forestry, including better soil management and ecosystem restoration.

“We know how to do this,” said Skea. “It’s as if we’ve laid out all our tools on the tool bench but have yet to pick them up.”

Government ministers attending the roundtable delivered a collective call to urgently ramp up ambition across the board, with many developing countries stressing the need for support and sustained financial flows. Most ministers agreed the 1.5°C temperature limit is a “red line” that cannot be crossed.

An informal note that reflects the views expressed during the roundtable will be released in the coming weeks.

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