Countries urged to submit climate action plans

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is eager to get countries to submit as soon as possible their action plans that will form the basis of the new universal climate change agreement to be adopted in December in Paris.

Janos Pasztor, Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change, told a press conference at United Nations Headquarters that, to date, 62 out of 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

The Secretary-General is “eager” to get all countries to submit their climate action plans, Pasztor said, adding “the earlier we get them the better.”

According to the UNFCCC, the Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.

Pasztor described as “remarkable” the submissions that have been put forward so far, drawing attention to the fact the plans are based on what countries are prepared to do in response to climate change. Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.

He added that the Secretary-General hopes the visit to the UN by Pope Francis during next week’s General Assembly session devoted to adopting a new global development agenda will bolster support for action on climate change.

The UN expects 154 Heads of State or Government and 30 ministers for the Sustainable Development Summit, which will be held from 25 to 27 September.

On Wednesday, Ban voiced his concerns at a press conference that not enough is being done to keep temperature rise under the 2-degree Celsius threshold and urged world leaders “to raise ambition – and then match ambition with action.”

Against the backdrop of unprecedented population movements confronting the world today and in response to a question about whether climate change was a cause that forced people to be on the move, Pasztor said that there is “increasing evidence” that climate change is a factor.

“Climate change is a threat multiplier,” he said, adding that if there are already conditions that are prompting people to be on the move, the effects of climate change are making them worse.

“The facts are clear on the ground,” said Pasztor.

He also noted that there is “no silver bullet in reducing emissions,” and advocated for investing in substantive research for new technologies in the long-term battle against climate change.

“We are in this game for a long time,” he said.