Ladies and gentlemen.
We are gathered here in Poland for the third time in our 24-year journey under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Our quest for solutions to address the most pressing and existential issue of our lifetime – Climate Change – has never been more urgent.
The IPCC 1.5 degree Special report and the UNEP Gap report provide a fitting backdrop to our conference. Both reports validate our worst fears that climate change is real with dramatic consequences and expected impacts never felt or experienced before. It has social, economic and environmental implications and the consequences of climate change respects no borders or sovereignty.
The IPCC report calls for bold ambitious national action now, not tomorrow. It places the responsibility of addressing climate change squarely on every individual leader in terms of what national actions they can commit to deliver and contribute to this collective task. All actions count, and every contribution matters, reflective of our shared common goal but with differentiated responsibility.
Nothing is impossible!
Five years ago at COP19, the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was Poland’s signature contribution to the plight of people and countries already facing the irreversible consequences of climate change. This was not a lost cause because the Paris Agreement two years later accorded Loss and Damage its own Article separate from Adaptation. Even the recent IPCC Special 1.5 degree report has confirmed that Loss and Damage is a real and distinct problem that cannot be subsumed under adaptation. It is fitting that we have to return to Poland for a decision to ensure that the Warsaw mechanism is sufficiently resourced so that it can address the needs of the victims of this important but unappreciated aspect of climate change.
There is a compelling demand for new data to justify priority attention and commitment to be given to preventive measures to ensure that we can respond to the impacts of climate change more effectively.
Science has provided unequivocal evidence to prove that we can avert these dire situations and achieve a 1.5 degree scenario for our planet. But we need selfless leaders with the political courage and conviction to act together now. Towards that goal, we must make the right decisions this week and let these be the defining outcomes of our conference.
We need a decision on the Talanoa Dialogue to incentivize all parties to scale up ambition and climate change actions across all sectors in line with the IPCC 1.5 report. We need to finalise and adopt the Paris Agreement Work Programme, to design, identify, implement, assess, report, monitor and track activities by all parties to the Paris Agreement.
The time for waiting and delays are over. We are here to be part of the solution in our joint fight against the causes of climate change. We are keen to lead and not to be led. Even if the impact of our efforts is negligible, we are committed to do everything possible for the benefit of our people, our generation and those to follow.
Let Katowice be a point of hope for generations to come rather than an end due to a legacy of selfishness, denial and ignorance. No country is immune to the impacts of climate change