Climate: we have left the era of words and moved to action
2018 Investor Summit on Climate Risk
Panel “New Momentum and Opportunities for Tackling Climate Change”
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representatve of France to the United Nations - 31 january 2018
Thank you Elisabeth and many thanks to Ceres and the UN Foundation for their extraodinary commitment. It is a great honor for me as the French Ambassador to the UN to be invited to the Investor Summit on Climate Risk and speak before such a distinguish audience.
I must congratulate you all for this exceptional turnout of international investors, companies, experts and tought leaders. This is really impressive.
I was already France’s Permanent Representative to the UN during the COP 21 and, as many here in the room, active in the Paris Accord negotiations. Never in my diplomatic career have I witnessed or felt so much hope and momentum that I did then - as I do now.
The COP 21 was perhaps so transformative because it brought together historical participants, state and non state actors, but also reached out to new participants: the business community and investors. In my experience, the level of participation of businesses and investors was unprecedented. Both President Hollande and then President Macron know that the Paris Accord’s success to transition to a low-carbon economy needs the money to follow the intent. There is simply no other way.
That is why President Macron launched the One Planet Summit and why we are all here today: We urgently need to scale up all efforts, and particularly the funding, to achieve our goals, the goals that we set ourselves under the Paris Agreement.
President Macron’s immensely successful initiative to host the One Planet Summit, co-organized with the UN Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank, showed - beyond the shadow of a doubt - that the Paris Agreement is here to stay.
The Summit’s extraordinnary attendance and the series of announcements and commitments made, released almost hourly during the Summit, conveyed to the world a message of urgency from many in the global investment community that really stepped up to say it was ready to do its part. And this is immensly important. The One Planet Summit, which will be an annual event, showed that when we all come together, we can really make change.
Another result of the One Planet Summit is the indispensable discussions at COP 23 as developping nations want to make sure that we, the industrialized nations, adequately support adaptation and mitigation measures in the most vulnerable regions of the world. That support can’t be done without money.
By putting finance at the center of the Summit, President Macron sent a strong signal: if the Paris Accord is to succeed, we need to bring those who can fund the transition to the table.
I won’t list the many commitments, more than a dozen, nor projects showcased, about 20, that illustrate how local and global solutions are being found. I can only conclude to say that we have left the era of words and moved to an era of action.
I want to highlight very briefly three important trends that we all observed at the Summit:
First, a growing market and regulatory pressure on companies to disclose their carbon exposure and transition plans to a low carbon economy. Let me mention the Climate Action 100+ that was announced at the Summit by Comptroller Betty Yee, who is here with us today. I had the privilege of witnessing this initiative in the making, back in 2016, in the course of the many private meetings I hosted at the French Mission to the UN with some of the world’s largest international investors. And I want to pay a special tribute to California State Comptroller Betty Yee, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. I’ve worked closely with them and their teams since 2016 and thank them for their support.
At the Summit, a growing number of investors and companies also announced their support for the TCFD, which is chaired by Mike Bloomberg, who we all know is a true friend of the UN and, if I may say also, a friend of France ;
Second trend, more de-risking and scaling up of low carbon investments around the world;
And third trend, gowing efforts to incorporate climate change in all sectors of the economy.
Of course, we will have to ensure that the commitments made at the One Planet Summit are kept. A coalition, the One Planet Coalition, was formed in order precisely to follow up on their implementation.
In short, I’m even more optimistic today than I was when I spent these spleepless nights in Paris at the negociating table.
Getting 193 countries to agree was step 1. We accomplished that.
Getting markets and businesses to support the transition to a low carbon economy is step 2. And the One Planet Summit showed us that we are well on our way there.
So my warmest thanks to all of you. Merci
Following your question I will conclude with the fact that development and climate are intrinsically connected indeed. Amina Mohammed already spoke about it so I’ll be very brief.
What I can say based on my personal experience here at the UN is that as a permanent member of the Security Council I see that link between development and climate change literally every day.
The images and first hand stories of tragedy and horror remind me, and should remind us all, why sustainable development is vital to us, as human beings and as society. The UN Sustainable Goals (SDGs), in which climate change is a key element, are a critical step that I see companies and investors embracing. To make a long story short, there is a quiet revolution happening here at the UN with the SDGs and of course the challenge is to make sure that we, together, spread the word and make sure that this revolution with the SDGs is embraced by the real world, by you, by the investors and the companies.
As others have said before me, there will be no sustainable development if climate change is not tackled.
For instance, we can’t meet the goals related to food security, health, or cities if we fail to deliver on climate change. Drought, erosion, floods, deseases: these are factors of climate change and factors of poverty, famine and war. Alongside the COP21, 70 ad hoc coalitions gathering companies, investors, governments, NGOs and other non state actors were formed to implement the Paris Accord, covering the 17 SDGs.
For example, the African Clean Energy Corridor and the International Solar Alliance decided to tackle the issue of affordable and clean energy, this is SDG7. Another example is the Blue Goals Initiative and the Global Resilience Partnership decided to tackle “zero hunger”, this is SDG2.
I also want to point out the extraodinary inovation, economic and investment opportunities for development that many have begun to seize, as they relate to the mitigation and adaptation of climate change.
To conclude, I would say that we are on the journey towards a low carbon world. But we need to understand the urgency for action at a very large scale. The Paris Accord and the UN SDGs provide us with a common framework and a roadmap opening the avenue to unprecedented opportunities for innovation, collaboration and action.
So as President Macron would say : “En marche” !
Let’s get moving!