2020 might be our last best chance to tackle the climate crisis
Meeting of the Group of Friends on Climate in the presence of the Secretary General
Statement by Mr Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Trusteeship Council – 3 February 2020
Excellencies, Mr. Secretary General, chers amis,
As 2020 opens, Morocco and France have the honor to convey the first meeting of the year of the group of friends on climate, in the presence of the Secretary General. We are extremely honored to welcome you here and we would like to commend your personal and political commitment in the fight against climate change.
As bad as climate impacts may have been in 2019, the year which just ended was also one of hope for climate. And if one person gave us hope and energy to fight climate change in 2019, it is you, Mr. Secretary General. By gathering the world in New York at the Climate Action Summit in September, you demonstrated that climate change had to be fought with actions, not with words, with commitments.
You also prompted us to hear the voices of those who will be the most affected by the decisions we take today: young people who are taking to the streets everywhere to demand that we do not sacrifice their future. The Youth Summit in September was perhaps the most vibrant call for us to do better for climate in 2020.
The science is indisputable: 2020 might be our last best chance to tackle the climate crisis and to preserve the spirit of the Paris agreement. In 2019, we witnessed the ravages of climate inaction: tropical cyclones, wildfires, cities asphyxiating under clouds of smoke and heat waves. 2019 marks the end of the hottest decade ever recorded and in the sole first half of the year a record number of 7 million people have been displaced because of extreme weather events. And we know that what 2019 is only the weakest version of what is yet to come if we do not choose to act now.
In 2020, five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, countries will submit their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and this will mark a historic step in the fight against climate change as the world unites to get our planet back on the right track.
But 2020 also opens a new decade. Fighting climate change will be the key driver of this collective action: stabilizing our planet’s climate is the prerequisite of any further success in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Yet I also want to emphasize that another key Agenda will be set in 2020 - that is the post-2020 framework for biodiversity. We will not be able to fight climate change without the help of nature, and nature will not resist the damages of climate change if we don’t act upon it.
In 2020, France will do everything in its power to raise ambition both for climate and for the protection of biodiversity at each of the Summits at which we will gather: the IUCN World Conservation Congress in June in Marseille, the UN Nature Summit in New York, COP15 on biodiversity in Kunming and COP26 on climate in Glasgow.
I’m sure we are all very excited to hear the views of His Excellency Mr. Secretary General on the year 2020 but before turning to you Mr. Secretary General, let me give the floor to my friend Ambassador Hilale of Morocco.