Remarks by Angel Gurría
Katowice, Poland - 12 December 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Ministers, Mr. [Satya] Tripathi, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are facing a climate emergency. The special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that, without bold and urgent climate action, global warming will reach 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030. That’s barely 12 years away!
This is why our discussions at COP24 are so important. In 2015, we crafted the Paris Agreement to inspire and inform global action on climate change. But implementation has been far too cautious, too piecemeal, too slow. Here in Katowice, we have the opportunity to get back on track by agreeing on the Paris Rulebook. This will be a huge step forward. But we need to go even further. We need to embrace a much more transformative agenda to align finance and investment with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and to ensure a low emission, resilient future.
This means undertaking rapid and radical transformations in our energy, urban, infrastructure and industrial systems. These transformations are at the heart of our Financing Climate Futures: Rethinking Infrastructure initiative. This initiative is a joint effort by three of the world’s most important international organisations: UN Environment, the World Bank Group and the OECD – with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Our joint report provides a roadmap for governments on how to move away from incremental progress on climate action.
Of the hundreds of policy levers and actions that governments can take, the report identifies six priority areas for driving transformational change: planning infrastructure for a low emission and resilient future; unleashing innovation to accelerate the transition; ensuring fiscal sustainability; resetting the financial system in line with long-term climate risks and opportunities; rethinking development finance; and empowering sub-national governments. As we pursue transformational change in each of these areas, we need to be mindful of securing a “just transition”, ensuring that we not only achieve our environmental objectives, but also deliver decent work, support social inclusion, and eradicate poverty.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
This year’s extreme weather events, such as America’s “big freeze”; snow in the Sahara; the devastating wildfires in Greece, North America, and Sweden; the intense heatwaves in Japan and the United Kingdom; and catastrophic flooding and typhoons in China, India and Philippines, to only name a few, offer a frightening glimpse into our future if climate change intensifies. As Secretary-General Guterres observed in his opening statement, climate change is a matter of life and death. We need to work together and put our money where our mouth is: we need to invest in the climate action needed to safeguard the well-being of our planet, of our people, wildlife, societies, and economies. We need to keep global warming below 1.5°C!
It’s time to move beyond the current model of policymaking to deliver transformational change. The OECD is working on multiple fronts to drive this change, including through our flagship reports and analysis – including Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth, and our Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development – and the work of the OECD Centre on Green Finance and Investment. Count on us as we move forward!
I would like to commend Germany for its leadership in driving forward the international agenda on climate, and supporting the Financing Climate Futures initiative. I look forward to this afternoon’s discussions. Thank you.