The Climate Ambition Summit took place on Wednesday, 20 September. It was convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to demonstrate there is collective will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate-resilient global economy. The Summit included a plenary session showcasing “first mover and doer” leaders, followed by three thematic sessions and a special meeting on loss and damage finance.

During the closing segment, the rapporteurs of the thematic sessions shared key messages.

On credibility of “net zero,” rapporteur Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation, said greenwashing remains a distraction from real efforts, and noted calls for more action by authorities to ensure that transitions have scientific credibility. She also conveyed speakers’ emphasis on bringing ambition into line with the 1.5°C target.

On adaptation and early warnings for all, rapporteur Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance, Tuvalu, highlighted the first two partnerships formed to deliver adaptation finance and planning through the UN’s Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator. He cited joint commitments from regional development banks to support the development of early warning systems, as well as the Green Climate Fund’s commitment to support the Early Warnings for All initiative and the Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator, in line with its mandate to allocate half of its funding to adaptation.

On industrial decarbonization and energy transition, rapporteur Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, said clean energy is moving faster than many realize and highlighted emissions improvements in the power and transportation sectors. He noted calls for governments to set targets and milestones for decarbonizing industry, which is lagging behind. He reported that producing one ton of steel emits the same amount as it did 20 years ago. Finally, Birol underlined the need for global guidelines to ensure fairness in extracting and refining critical minerals required for the clean transition.

The event on loss and damage finance served as a platform for discussions between representatives of multilateral development banks, bilateral development finance institutions, global climate funds, insurance and risk financing institutions, foundations, and civil society. It was attended at the highest level and served to inform the ongoing negotiations on funding arrangements for loss and damage and the operationalization of a loss and damage fund, as agreed under the UNFCCC. Speakers highlighted the need for, among others:

an effective fundraising campaign, using sovereign funds to unlock private capital and leveraging innovative sources, notably through taxation;
using a combination of needs- and performance-based criteria to develop a uniform approach to funding allocation; and
clear and unified signals from shareholders.
In closing, Guterres noted the event had “started as a climate ambition summit and ended as a climate hope summit.” He expressed disappointment over the G20’s recent conclusions on climate change, saying geopolitical divides are preventing the required “historic compromise” among developed countries and large-emitting developing countries. However, he emphasized, many actors are willing to align with the 1.5°C target. He urged all the climate “doers” to scale up action, bring people together, and “take no prisoners.”

The main outcomes of the Summit will be captured in a Chair’s Summary.

The full commentary on the 20 September Climate Ambition Summit is available here


The Climate Ambition Summit took place on Wednesday, 20 September

Delegates gather for the opening of the Climate Ambition Summit.

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