UN Climate Change News, 27 November 2018 – At the Africa Climate Change / Israel Contribution Conference in Jerusalem last week, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, highlighted the importance of technological innovation to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The UN’s top climate change official called on countries that have already developed innovative climate change solutions and technology to share their knowledge and approaches with other nations, notably with Africa.
This can help countries turn the national climate action plans countries they have under the Paris Agreement, the so-called “Nationally-Determined Contributions”, into reality.
Ms. Espinosa said: “Technological innovation is central to low-emission and climate-resilient development. Not just in Africa or Israel, but throughout the world. And it will help all nations fully implement their Nationally-Determined Contributions. By sharing this information and this technology, we will get there more quickly, and we will get there cooperatively.”
She also urged governments to finalize the Paris Agreement Work Program, which will unleash the full potential of the agreement.
Read the full remarks as prepared for delivery:
I want to thank the Government of Israel for hosting this event and its continuing efforts to address climate change both at home and abroad.
Ladies and gentlemen, today we face a stark reality: climate change is quickly outpacing us and the clock is running out.
The recent Special Report by the IPCC states that the world is not on track to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, as outlined in the Paris Agreement—and the window to achieve this is closing rapidly.
And this year’s UN Environment Program’s Emissions Gap Report tells us that current commitments as expressed in the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement are, with their current level of ambition, completely inadequate to bridge the gap separating us from 1.5°C.
In fact, current NDCs imply global warming of about 3oC by 2100. This tells us that if the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it will be close to impossible that even the well below 2°C temperature goal can be reached.
This is illogical, irresponsible and—if things don’t change—irreversible.
It’s clear we need solutions and we need them now—especially with respect to helping nations not only fulfill their NDCs, but making those plans even more ambitious.
It therefore makes sense for nations that have already developed innovative climate change solutions and technology to share their knowledge and approaches with other nations.
That’s why this conference, which brings together Israel and African nations, is so important.
We know that Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents with respect to climate change.
We see this in rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall and an increase in extreme weather events such as flooding and drought.
This vulnerability only increases with these impacts, and their effects are felt in many ways, such as reduced agricultural output and desertification.
Conversely, Israel has developed many technologies that are relevant to African nations, ranging from solutions in solar energy technology, sustainable agriculture, water, and much more.
We’re already seeing how this can come together.
For example, Jerusalem-based renewable-energy developer Energiya Global will invest $1 billion over the next four years to advance green power projects across 15 West African countries.
That’s a significant investment that’s not only providing energy to millions throughout Africa who need it, but it reflects a transition that we need to see—a shift towards cleaner, more renewable forms of energy.
This work is part of a memorandum of understanding between Israel and the Economic Community of West African States.
But it’s not a one-way street. African nations are also providing several innovative domestic solutions as well.
A case in point is the Kenya Climate Innovation Center. It provides capacity building services, financing and other support to Kenyan entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing innovative solutions in energy, water and agribusiness to address climate change challenges.
Another is Off-Grid Electric, a company based in Tanzania whose mission is to make distributed renewable energy accessible for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, technological innovation is central to low-emission and climate-resilient development. Not just in Africa or Israel, but throughout the world.
And it will help all nations fully implement their Nationally-Determined Contributions. By sharing this information and this technology, we will get there more quickly, and we will get there cooperatively.
The benefits of this technical innovation, however, extend beyond meeting NDC commitments. It’s about building a more resilient and more sustainable future.
Again, let’s look at how this could work in Africa.
Several African nations are in a unique situation as they look ahead to the next few decades. Many will experience a significant population growth, and these new arrivals will expect similar infrastructure and services we currently enjoy—but all of this means significant development.
These nations have an opportunity that was not afforded to others—by harnessing the technology we now have—the technology we’re discussing today—they can leapfrog the carbon-intense development phrase and truly begin building low-carbon, resilient societies.
These will also be cleaner, healthier societies—societies that are more sustainable—societies that will define the 21st century economy and create jobs that will drive that economy.
But we can’t get there on technology alone.
We also need to harness the full power of the Paris Agreement, which is the global response to climate change. It represents a clear and comprehensive path forward for all nations.
As many of you know, in less than one month, nations and non-state actors will meet in Katowice, Poland, for COP 24.
We have one overwhelming task to complete—finalizing the Paris Agreement Work Program.
An ambitious and dynamic Work Program will unleash the full potential of the Paris Agreement.
But more than that, it sends a signal of trust that nations are serious about climate change.
We need your help to send a message to national leaders, government representatives and negotiators to get that Work Agreement finalized. It’s that important.
We need progress on several other issues as well, including commitments to boost global climate action and ensuring nations fulfil their financial pledges to support the climate regime.
The Talanoa Dialogue will also be one of the significant outcomes of this conference to boost ambition.
Just as they need technological innovation as we are discussing today, many developing countries need financial support to contribute to global action, reflect that action in their Nationally-Determined Contributions, and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to once again thank Israel for its leadership not only with respect to innovation and technology, but for its action on the climate change front in general.
I encourage you to continue working together…to continue working on sharing technological innovation and climate change solutions…and continue working to build a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous future.
Not only for Israel and African countries alone, but for the entire planet.