António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) Remarks at Press Conference on WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 Report

United Nations Secretary-General&nbsp;António Guterres&nbsp; - Video remarks at the launch of World Meteorological Organization's report "State of the Global Climate 2021".<br><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>TRANSCRIPT:&nbsp;<br><br></div><div><div>Today’s State of the Climate report is a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption.</div><div><br></div><div>Sea level rise, ocean heat, greenhouse gas concentrations, and ocean acidification – set alarming new records in 2021.</div><div><br></div><div>Global mean sea level increased at more than double the previous rate and is mainly due to accelerating loss of ice mass.</div><div><br></div><div>Ocean warming also shows a particularly strong increase in the past two decades, and is penetrating to ever deeper levels.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Much of the ocean experienced at least one strong marine heatwave at some point in 2021.</div><div><br></div><div>Professor Taalas and WMO colleagues will unpack the science.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>But I will give you the bottom line.&nbsp;</div><div>The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe.</div><div><br></div><div>Fossil fuels are a dead end — environmentally and economically.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The war in Ukraine and its immediate effects on energy prices is yet another wake-up call.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The only sustainable future is a renewable one.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition, before we incinerate our only home.</div><div><br></div><div>Time is running out.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>To keep 1.5 alive and prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, the world must act in this decade.</div><div><br></div><div>The good news is that the lifeline is right in front of us.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Transforming energy systems is low-hanging fruit.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases, cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Over the past decade, the cost of wind energy has declined by more than half.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>The cost of solar energy and batteries has plummeted 85 per cent.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>And investment in renewables creates jobs — three times more jobs than fossil fuels.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>We don’t have a moment to lose.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>That is why today I am proposing five critical actions to jump-start the renewable energy transition.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>First, renewable energy technologies, such as battery storage, must be treated as essential and freely-available global public goods.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Removing obstacles to knowledge sharing and technological transfer – including intellectual property constraints -- is crucial for a rapid and fair renewable energy transition.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Storing renewable electricity is often cited as the greatest barrier to the clean energy transition.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>I am therefore calling for a global coalition on battery storage to fast-track innovation and deployment – a coalition led and driven by governments, bringing together tech companies, manufacturers, and financiers.</div><div><br></div><div>Second, we must secure, scale up and diversify the supply of critical components and raw materials for renewable energy technologies.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Today’s supply chains for renewable energy technology and raw materials are concentrated in a handful of countries.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>The renewable age cannot flourish until we bridge this vast chasm.</div><div><br></div><div>This will take concerted international coordination.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Governments must invest in skills training, research and innovation, and incentives to build supply chains.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Third, governments must build frameworks and reform bureaucracies to level the playing field for renewables.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>In many countries, these systems still favour deadly fossil fuels.&nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>We must prevent bottlenecks, where gigawatts of renewable projects are held up by red tape, permits and grid connections.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I call on governments to fast-track and streamline approvals of solar and wind projects, modernize grids and set ambitious 1.5-degree-aligned renewable energy targets that provide certainty to investors, developers, consumers and producers.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Renewable energy policies are fundamental to reduce market risk and drive investment into the sector.</div><div><br></div><div>Fourth, governments must shift subsidies away from fossil fuels to protect the poor and most vulnerable people and communities.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Every minute of every day, coal, oil and gas receive roughly $11 million dollars in subsidies.</div><div><br></div><div>Each year, governments around the world pour around half a trillion dollars into artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels — more than triple what renewables receive.</div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div>While people suffer from high prices at the pump, the oil and gas industry is raking in billions from a distorted market.</div><div><br></div><div>This scandal must stop.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Fifth, private and public investments in renewable energy must triple to at least $4 trillion dollars a year.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>For solar and wind power, upfront payments account for 80 per cent of lifetime costs.&nbsp; That means big investments now will reap big rewards for years to come.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>But some developing countries pay seven times more in financing costs than developed countries.</div><div><br></div><div>We need blended finance that provides the necessary structures to close existing funding gaps and unlock the trillions held by private actors.&nbsp; This means adjusted risk frameworks and more flexibility to scale up renewable finance.</div><div><br></div><div>The management and shareholders of multilateral development banks and development finance institutions must take responsibility and be held accountable.</div><div><br></div><div>I call on them, including their private arms, to fully align their entire lending portfolios with the Paris Agreement, by 2024 at the latest, and to end all high-emissions high pollution finance.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This includes using their balance sheets creatively to accelerate the renewable energy transition.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>And it means setting targets to substantially finance renewable energy infrastructure, including through technical and policy assistance.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Commercial banks and all elements of the global financial system need to dramatically scale up investments in renewables as they phase out fossil fuels.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Renewables are the only path to real energy security, stable power prices and sustainable employment opportunities.&nbsp;</div><div>If we act together, the renewable energy transformation can be the peace project of the 21st century.</div><div><br></div><div>Every country, city and citizen, every financial institution, company and civil society organization has a role to play.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>But most of all, it’s time for leaders — public and private alike — to stop talking about renewables as a distant project of the future.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Because without renewables, there can be no future.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>As today’s report makes clear, it’s time to jump-start the renewable energy transition before it’s too late.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Thank you.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div></div><div><br></div>