At the 4th Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) co-hosted by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal European Commission, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Canada Jonathan Wilkinson and the Minister for Ecology and Environment of China Huang Runqiu, about 30 ministers gathered to discuss a green and sustainable recovery, post Covid-19, aligned to the Paris Agreement.
In her speech, the President of COP25 and Minister of Environment, Carolina Schmidt, called on countries to “develop and implement plans to recover our economies and jobs” that have not only been affected by the Pandemic, but also by climate change that has not been in quarantine.
Complete speech of the Minister of Environment of Chile, Carolina Schmidt:
Distinguished ministers and delegates, my warm greetings, and a special thanks to Canada, China and the European Union for convening this meeting.
The first half of 2020 has unfolded in a very challenging and unexpected manner. The Covid-19 pandemic represents one the biggest health crisis in the history of humanity, impacting people’s lives in manifold and serious ways.
In the short term the first priority for governments has been to look after the health of our citizens. But we should be working hard as well to develop and implement plans to recover our economies and jobs facing the other global crisis we are living and that has Not Been in quarantine: Climate Change.
What our citizen expect of Leaders in time of crisis is certainty. To provide this certainty leaders has to show clear goals and a long term vision for our recovery plans.
3 concrete actions are decisive to show this leadership, align our economic recovery plans to the Paris Agreement and use this crisis to accelerate the transformation to the New economy RECOVERING BETTER:
1- Presenting updated NDCs with ambitious commitments for 2030, and Long Term Climate Strategies aimed at carbon neutrality by 2050
While Covid-19 may have postponed COP26, it has not postponed the need for Parties to deliver the commitments they have made under the Paris Agreement – most notably, the submission of more ambitious NDCs this year in 2020.
In this spirit, in the month of April, Chile presented a significantly enhanced NDC that, in line with the Paris Agreement, targets a long-term vision of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Our NDC represents a critical milestone on this path, committing to an absolute carbon budget for the period 2020- 2030 and a series of other measures, spanning adaptation and integrative actions on oceans, forests, circular economy, finance and nature-based solutions.
Updating our NDC commitments should not be seen as an unnecessary distraction from the health crisis. On the contrary, presenting enhanced NDCs this year is more important than ever because NDCs commitments actually act as a beacon to guide the social and economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.
Globally First NDCs were presented five years ago. Today there is a clear opportunity to increase our collective ambition, through updating with ambition our contributions showing leadership and setting the goals for a Green Recovery. We then look forward to the UNFCCC’s NDC Synthesis Report showing the joint effect of parties’ commitments and how much work remains to deliver the Paris goals.
2- International financing for green recovery
The international resources that support global reactivation must contain decarbonisation requirements. This will help the developing countries to accelerate the decarbonisation of our economies and mobilize private sector.
A clear example of this is the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund that owns 1.5% of the global stock markets, that recently announced will invest only in sustainable, low carbon companies and projects.
The decision made by this important international fund has had already important impacts in many multinational companies present in developing countries. In the case of Chile this decision has accelerated the closure of some coal power plants in almost 10 years from originally planned.
Examples like this show us that low carbon requirements for international funds can be an opportunity to mobilize the private sector accelerating the decarbonisation processes in our countries.
We call developed countries to mobilize resources that enable private and public sectors to decouple economic growth from fossil energy consumption, while promoting sustainable investments and green jobs.
In our country we have successfully used Green Sovereign Bonds. They play an important role by contributing to achieving the climate goals while also promoting an economic and socio- environmental revival agenda to face the crisis due to Covid-19 , with sustainability criteria, marking a path towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy.
3- use the Covid-19 green recovery as an Opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation with a SOCIAL emphasis, improving the quality of life of people in their territories
Green recovery efforts provide a huge opportunity to accelerate our transformation to a low carbon and resilient economy with a social focus, generating New jobs and creating opportunities for the communities in their territories, reducing local pollution, and giving access to cleaner and cheaper energy to families and water security.
For Chile is critical that we focus our investments in the following areas that has a greater social and environmental impact for our communities:
• Renewable energies
• Energy and watter efficiency
• Sustainable building and industry
• Nature-based solutions
In line with this approach, our new NDC included a novel social pillar, which addresses all of our commitments in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and also considers the development of a just transition strategy that will support our decarbonisation process.
Dear ministers and colleagues,
The strategies with develop to recover to Covid-19 will be will be decisive in our ability to address climate change. How we respond to this economic crisis, must be a top priority for the international community.
I call upon you to exercise decisive leadership in the 3 main areas that I have mentioned so we can make sure that our efforts allow us to build back better for the benefits of our people and their territories.