António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) at the Opening ceremony of the World Climate Action Summit | COP28, UN Climate Change Conference

<p>Your Highness, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,</p><p>I want to express my profound gratitude for the wonderful hospitality that we are enjoying in Dubai from the government and the people of the United Arab Emirates.</p><p>COP28 President Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, I want to congratulate you on the positive start to the COP with an expeditious approval of the agenda and the landmark operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund. Congratulations.</p><p>Excellencies, friends, all protocol observed.</p><p>Just days ago, I was on the melting ice of Antarctica.</p><p>Not long before, I was among the melting glaciers of Nepal.</p><p>These two spots are far in distance, but united in crisis.</p><p>Polar ice and glaciers are vanishing before our eyes, causing havoc the world over: from landslides and floods, to rising seas.</p><p>But this is just one symptom of the sickness bringing our climate to its knees.</p><p>A sickness only you, global leaders, can cure.&nbsp;</p><p>Excellencies,</p><p>Earth’s vital signs are failing: record emissions, ferocious fires, deadly droughts and the hottest year ever. We can guarantee it even when we’re still in November.</p><p>We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement – and minutes to midnight for the 1.5-degree limit.</p><p>But it is not too late.</p><p>We can - you can - prevent planetary crash and burn.</p><p>We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos – if we act now.</p><p>The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has charted a clear path to a 1.5-degree world.</p><p>But we need leadership – cooperation – and political will for action.</p><p>And we need it now.&nbsp;</p><p>It’s true. Our world is unequal and divided.</p><p>As we see in this region, conflicts are causing immense suffering and intense emotion. We just heard the news that the bombs are sounding again in Gaza.</p><p>And climate chaos is fanning the flames of injustice.</p><p>Global heating is busting budgets, ballooning food prices, upending energy markets, and feeding a cost-of-living crisis.</p><p>But climate action can flip the switch.</p><p>And renewable energy is the gift that keeps on giving.</p><p>It is good for our planet, our health, and our economies.</p><p>Cleaning our air.</p><p>Meeting the world’s growing energy demand.</p><p>Connecting millions of people to affordable electricity.</p><p>Bringing stability and security to markets.</p><p>And saving money – as renewable energy has never been cheaper.&nbsp;</p><p>Excellencies, friends,</p><p>The diagnosis is clear.</p><p>The success of this COP depends on the Global Stocktake prescribing a credible cure in three areas.</p><p>First, drastically cutting emissions.</p><p>Current policies would lead to an earth-scorching three-degree temperature rise.</p><p>So the Global Stocktake must set clear expectations for economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions presented by all countries that cover all greenhouse gases, and align with the 1.5-degree limit.</p><p>The G20 – which represents 80 per cent of the world’s emissions -- must lead.</p><p>And I urge countries to speed up their net zero timelines, to get there as close as possible to 2040 in developed countries and 2050 in emerging economies.</p><p>Second, we cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels.</p><p>We must accelerate a just, equitable transition to renewables.</p><p>The science is clear:</p><p>The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels.</p><p>Not reduce.</p><p>Not abate.</p><p>Phaseout – with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees.</p><p>The Global Stocktake must not only commit to that – it must also commit to triple renewables; double energy efficiency; and bring clean energy to all by 2030.</p><p>The economics are clear: the global shift to renewables is inevitable.<br>The only question is how much heating our planet will endure before it happens.</p><p>The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended ending our addiction to coal by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 for the rest of the world.</p><p>At the same time, according to the International Energy Agency, the oil and gas industry accounts for just one per cent of clean energy investment.</p><p>So allow me to have a message for fossil fuel company leaders:&nbsp;</p><p>Your old road is rapidly aging.&nbsp;</p><p>Do not double-down on an obsolete business model.</p><p>Lead the transition to renewables using the resources you have available.&nbsp;</p><p>Make no mistake – the road to climate sustainability is also the only viable pathway to economic sustainability of your companies in the future.&nbsp;</p><p>I urge governments to help industry make the right choice – by regulating, legislating, putting a fair price on carbon, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and adopting a windfall tax on profits.</p><p>Excellencies,</p><p>Third, climate justice is long overdue.</p><p>Developing countries are being devastated by disasters they did not cause.</p><p>Extortionate borrowing costs are blocking their climate action plans. &nbsp;</p><p>And support is far too little, far too late.</p><p>The Global Stocktake must commit to a surge in finance, including for adaptation and loss and damage.</p><p>And it must support reform of the multilateral development banks to leverage far more private finance at reasonable costs for developing countries on climate action.</p><p>And developed countries must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025 – as promised – and clarify how they deliver on the $100 billion – as promised.&nbsp;</p><p>Excellencies,</p><p>The climate challenge is not just another issue in your inbox.&nbsp;</p><p>Protecting our climate is the world’s greatest test of leadership.</p><p>And so I urge you to lead.&nbsp;</p><p>Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.</p><p>Make this COP count.</p><p>Make this COP a gamechanger.</p><p>Make this COP the new hope in the future of humankind.</p><p>Thank you.</p>