(Excerpt from speech on 11 August to Global Environment Forum, S. Korea)
If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters.
Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest – even violence – could follow.
The damage to national economies will be enormous. The human suffering will be incalculable.
We have the power to change course. But we must do it now.
We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.
Any agreement must be fair, effective, equitable and comprehensive, and based on science. And it must help vulnerable nations adapt to climate change.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The science is clear. We know what to do and we know how to do it. Songdo shows us the way.
What is needed is the political will. We have the capacity. We have finance. We have the technology. The largest lacking is political will. That is why I will convey some meetings focused on climate change.
Awareness is the first step. The challenge now is to act.
Since my first day as Secretary-General, I have spoken out about the grave climate change threat.
My words, at times, have been blunt.
But leaders have agreed to cut green house gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. That is welcomed again. But that must be accompanied by the ambitious mid-term target by 2020 as science tells us to do. There I said, while I applaud their commitment, that is not enough.
There are four points [of] very important key political issues.
First industrialized countries must lead by committing to binding mid-term reduction targets on the order of 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels.
Second, developing countries need to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions in order to reduce the growth in their emissions substantially below business as usual.
Their actions must be measurable, reportable and verifiable.
Third, developed countries must provide sufficient, measurable, reportable and verifiable financial and technological support to developing countries.
This will allow developing countries to pursue their mitigation efforts as part of their sustainable green growth strategies and to adapt to accelerating climate impacts.
Developing countries, especially the most vulnerable, will collectively need billions of dollars in public financing for adaptation.
Fourth, we need an equitable and accountable mechanism for distributing these financial and technological resources, taking into account the views of all countries in decision-making.
Accomplishing all of this requires tough decisions. It will take flexibility and hard work to negotiate the most difficult issues.
Trust between developed and developing countries is essential.
When governments succeed in sealing a deal in Copenhagen, we will have shown the spirit of international solidarity. We will have shown leadership – political will.
Today, we need to turn a different tide – the tide of climate change. We need bold “outside of the box” thinking.
We need your support and cooperation.
You can shape the international debate and influence important decisions.
You can encourage countries to work together.
Together, we truly can turn the tide, once again.
I need your support, your commitment, and your leadership.
Thank you very much.