Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Opening remarks

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to all of you, wherever you are.

Let me start by thanking minister Huang for hosting this 5th Ministerial on Climate Action.

Dear colleagues,

You all know that 2021 is going to be a crucial year for climate action. The COP26 in Glasgow will prove whether we are worthy of our ‘rendez-vous’ with history. And we will be judged by those who come after us: will we live up to the challenge of a generation or not?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we’re fragile as a human beings. But we’re also resilient and we have the ability to find solutions. And we also know we need to show solidarity, especially between generations.

Young people in many places have diligently followed all restrictions, despite not running great risks themselves. I believe we must now repay that solidarity by taking decisive climate action.

The pandemic has also reminded us all of the importance of listening to science. And the science is clear: we are getting close to existential tipping points. Meanwhile, we are already at risk of easing back into business-as usual. The IEA warned just a few weeks ago that global emissions are back on a pre-pandemic level.

We as politicians and policymakers have the collective responsibility to lead and to demonstrate our ambition and commitment. It is thus essential to submit revised NDCs aligned with climate neutrality, ahead of COP 26.

We were encouraged by the announcements made at the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement last year. However, only a limited number of Parties have announced net-zero goals, and formally submitted their long-term strategies. Even more worryingly, the initial synthesis report by the UNFCCC shows how few of us – countries covering only 29% of global emissions – have upgraded our NDCs. This will not be sufficient.

At the end of last year, the EU submitted its long-term strategy to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and updated its 2030 NDC to align with this goal.

Building this trajectory into a green recovery strategy will give our societies direction and guide investors, businesses, workers, and consumers towards sustainability faster.

Major emitters, like us, need to deliver their highest possible ambition.

We have also adopted a new EU adaptation strategy, with actions ranging from climate-proofing investments to mainstreaming climate adaptation, including in the context of our international cooperation.

I look forward to engaging with you all throughout the year to accelerate the transformation and boost global ambition. We need it.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing your views during the discussion.

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Closing remarks 

I want to reiterate what you, Minister Huang, said: We need to make sure we are well prepared for Glasgow.

This is our rendez-vous with History, I cannot underline that enough.

And we, the European Union, will make sure we will be prepared; we will have our climate law adopted within a month, hopefully; we will make our proposals before the summer on how we change a host of policies that would take us to at least minus 55% in 2030.

And with that, we hope we can convince our international partners to do the right thing and make out of the COP in Glasgow a great success.

Thank you very much.

Source: Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans’ remarks at the 5th Ministerial for Climate Action

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