Secretary-General: Show Need to End Global Heating with Cold, Hard Facts
14 March 2023
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in Interlaken, Switzerland, on 13 March:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, for decades, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put forward evidence on how people and planet are being rocked by climate destruction.
With report after report, and fact upon fact, you have built the case -- setting out the science of climate change and the urgency for climate action. The evidence has been clear, convincing and irrefutable.
Now you are coming together to finalize a synthesis report based on years of work and the efforts of hundreds of scientists. This will be the first comprehensive IPCC report in nine years -- and the first since the Paris Agreement on climate change. It could not come at a more pivotal time.
Our world is at a crossroads -- and our planet is in the crosshairs. We are nearing the point of no return; of overshooting the internationally agreed limit of 1.5°C of global warming. We are at the tip of a tipping point. But, it is not too late -- as you have shown.
Your report last year clearly demonstrated it is possible to limit global warming to 1.5°C with rapid and deep emissions reductions across all sectors of the global economy. And your recent reports have also underscored the need to act now.
In 2021, you concluded for the first time that some of the changes to Earth’s oceans, ice and land surface were irreversible. And that these changes were “unequivocally” caused by human activity, overwhelmingly due to burning fossil fuels and creating unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases.
And in 2022, you showed that nearly half the global population is living in the danger zone of climate impacts. And that we must scale up investments in adaptation.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the facts are not in question, but our actions are. In less than nine months, leaders will gather at COP28 [twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Conference] for the first global stocktake to bring the world in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. They need solid, frank, detailed scientific guidance to make the right decisions for people and planet.
They must understand the enormous consequences of delay and the enormous dividends from making the tough but essential choices. To accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuels and close the emissions gap. To race to a carbon-free, renewables future. And to secure climate justice, helping communities adapt and build resilience to the worsening impacts.
I count on the IPCC to do what you have always done -- point the way to solutions. And show the urgent need to end global heating with cold, hard facts. Thank you.