High-level Roundtable Links Sustainable COVID-19 Recovery to Paris Agreement –IISD

A High-level Roundtable on Climate Action, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, showcased high-impact climate solutions and targets by governments, the finance sector, and civil society. The event highlighted the benefits of sustainable COVID-19 recovery aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C by achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

 

The roundtable, which took place virtually on 24 September, encouraged countries to implement the Secretary-General’s six “climate-positive actions,” launched on Earth Day: investing in jobs and green business; avoiding bailouts to polluting industries; ending fossil fuel subsidies; considering climate risks in all decisions; working together; and ensuring that no one is left behind.

 

Guterres called for sustainable recovery plans, protecting the economy and society by acting in line with climate science, and prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable people and communities. He said all recovery packages need to accelerate decarbonization, and finance needs to shift to supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on behalf of the incoming presidency of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC, highlighted the UK’s net zero by 2050 pledge. He outlined the steps his country is taking to “bounce back better and build back greener,” including through technologies such as wind power, hydrogen, electric vehicles, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

 

On climate ambition, President of Chile Sebastián Piñera emphasized Chile’s efforts to achieve net-zero emission economy by 2050 by phasing out coal, replacing fossil fuels in the transport system, and increasing forest protection. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the Commission’s proposal to increase the EU’s mitigation target from 40% to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2040.

 

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