The world faces
an unprecedented threat from COVID-19. It is a global crisis unlike any in
recent history — one that is spreading human suffering, destabilizing the
global economy and upending the lives of billions of people around the globe.
Change staff stand in solidarity with all those affected by COVID-19.
The world will
get through this crisis, but only if we act together in a spirit of solidarity,
hope and resolve.
ContinuesIn unison with the UN family, while addressing the COVID-19 crisis, UN Climate
Change continues its important work. Climate change and COVID-19 are not the
same, but what is, is the concept of humanity working towards a common goal for
the benefit of all people.
Our work in
2020 is not, in any form, on hold. The climate emergency has not taken time off
for the coronavirus. Nor will it prevent extreme weather events and other
climate-related impacts, which are already causing casualties. We all are
working remotely, groups are meeting virtually, and we are maximizing our
efforts to ensure that we continue to support global efforts to address climate
change and reduce emissions.
2020 remains critical for making progress on climate
change. We are reminded that planet Earth registered its second-hottest year on
record in 2019. This capped off a five-year period that ranks as the warmest
span in recorded history. In 2019, hurricanes, wildfires and floods cost the
world $150 billion. Losses
for business and the economy—before COVID-19 hit—were expected to increase because of a
decade-long rise in natural catastrophes with direct links to climate change.
As UN Secretary-General António Guterres says, now
is the time for retreat.
Instead, never has the need for climate ambition been more crucial,
specifically raising ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance, including
building on the work of the 2019 Climate Action Summit. While COVID-19 may have
postponed COP26, it has not postponed the need for Parties to accelerate work
towards fulfilling commitments they have already made. Nor does it postpone the
requirement for nations to submit or revise their national climate action plans—known
as NDCs—in 2020. The world’s window of opportunity to address climate change is
closing soon: time is a luxury we simply do not have.
From Despair to
In the midst of the pandemic, a window of hope and
opportunity opens an opportunity for nations to shape the economy of the 21 century in ways that are greener, cleaner,
healthier and more resilient. In other words, a chance to recover better.
governments, as they roll out their economic-financial support, to make those
plans as green and sustainable as possible.
revealed the world’s vulnerabilities, many of which intersect with the climate
crisis. At the same time, it has highlighted the importance of expertise and
science, cooperation, information and transparency. And it has, in many cases,
demonstrated that societies can, when necessary, pull together to address a
global challenge with bold responses.
Change will draw upon these lessons as we adjust to the new reality. And we
stand ready to support countries in their climate change efforts, now and