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September Climate Summit Prompts Goal-Setting on Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance

António GuterresKuhlmann/MSC via Wikimedia Commons

United Nations agencies and various international coalitions are beginning to gear up for the Climate Action Summit that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to convene in New York City September 23, with the heads of 37 UN agencies issuing a joint appeal for an “ambitious” climate response and nine track coalitions unveiling their work plans to deliver on that call.

The joint appeal, issued last Friday, identifies [1] a series of urgent needs related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, climate finance, innovative action to advance sustainable development, and concrete steps to address climate change within the UN system.

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It calls on countries to “step up ambition and take concrete action to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and adapt to the effects of climate change, as they strive to fulfil their obligations on human rights, including the right to health, the right to food security, the right to development, the rights of Indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women, intergenerational equity, and decent work and a just transition for all, as stated in the Paris Agreement.”

The coalition statement, published last week, lays out action goals for the New York summit in nine areas: mitigation; social and political drivers; youth and public mobilization; energy transition; industry transition; infrastructure, cities and local action; nature-based solutions; resilience and adaptation; and climate finance and carbon pricing, the International Institute for Sustainable Development reports. The various work plans:

• Call on countries, particularly those with “sizeable emissions”, to speed up their greenhouse gas emission reductions and develop long-term strategies to hit net-zero emissions by 2050;

• Ensure that the post-carbon transition maximizes opportunities for “decent work for all, reducing inequalities, promoting social justice, and enhancing country efforts to improve people’s health”;

• Recognize the “unprecedented mobilization of people worldwide who are demanding ambitious climate action” and set out to “ensure that those outside the ‘climate bubble’ are reached”;

• Aim to mobilize investment to support alternatives to coal, support “market-driven public-private partnerships”, and address “challenging sectors such as aviation, shipping, cooling, buildings, and oil and gas”;

• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in heavy industry;

• Deliver a global climate resilience and adaptation effort that supports “resilient people, resilient economies, resilient food and land use to reduce land degradation and provide food security, and disaster response and preparedness”;

• Drive decarbonization and carbon neutrality in infrastructure, cities, and sub-national governments;

• Commit to a series of outcomes on nature-based climate solutions;

• Renew the call to scale up global climate finance to US$100 billion by 2020, while aligning public and private investment with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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