Relentless Energies of Change

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The Munch bunch Photograph: John Keeble/Getty Images via The Guardian, March 24 2019

To borrow a phrase from the reporters at the New York Times, it’s been a busy couple of weeks–not only in politics, but in the world generally. The sound byte version: major floods of biblical proportions in Southeastern Africa that devastated parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, taking hundreds, most likely thousands, of lives and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless; epic flooding in the United States’ Midwest as rains melted snow on top of frozen ground, causing rivers to swell and burst, and causing major highways in Nebraska to close; while major political upheaval continues with the UK’s Brexit impasse, prompting over a million protesters to march in London over the weekend demanding a new referendum vote.

Just before the close of business Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller III delivered his report concerning the Trump administration’s alleged ties with Russian intelligence during the 2016 election campaign to Attorney General William Barr. On Sunday, Barr released his short synopsis of Mueller’s report to the American public. (NYTimes, March 24, 2019). His conclusion is that there is not sufficient evidence within the report to claim that Trump, or any of his aides, committed crimes. Barr wrote “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Barr continued his synopsis by explaining there were two parts of the investigation, and regarding the second part, he stated “The Special Counsel therefore did not draw a conclusion – one way or the other – as to whether the examined conduct constituted obstruction. Instead, for each of the relevant actions investigated, the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”’ (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/24/us/politics/mueller-report-summary.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage)

Many readers of the New York Times commented on Sunday’s news, with the majority agreeing that while there seemed to not be enough evidence to begin impeachment proceedings, this debacle will continue under Congress in the months to come. Many commenters ended their words by exhorting readers to VOTE 2020.

The past two weeks have felt torrential—one tornado after hurricane after flood, both figuratively and literally. Part of me dreads next week’s news, and next month’s. Superlatives no longer hold much meaning, as the times we’re living through are a continuous stream of superstorms, supercorruption, superviolence, and generally a hyped-up version of everyday reality from what many of us were accustomed to for decades before this one. The relentless energies are exhausting and difficult to manage, prompting people to find any excuse to zone out, shut out, and get out of them in any way they can conceive to do it. Who can blame them? This level of reality is not for those who don’t have the mental and emotional endurance to withstand it.

I’ve been groping to find any shred of positivity within this hurricane of extremes. Toward that end, I pulled out my copy of Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (New World Library, 2012). Joanna Macy is that rare writer who can acknowledge the pain and struggles we experience as beings in human form on this planet, while also reminding us of the absolute wonder and joy of embodiment. In the chapter entitled Honoring Our Pain for the World, she writes,

We can exist in both realities at the same time—going about our normal lives in the mode of Business as Usual while also remaining painfully aware of the multifaceted crises unfolding around us….one way of dealing with the confusion and agony of this splitting is to push the crisis out of view….but this way of living is difficult to sustain, particularly as the condition of our world continues to worsen.

It is difficult even to talk about this….when we feel dread about what may lie ahead, outrage at what is happening to our planet, or sadness about what has already been lost, it is likely we have nowhere to take these feelings.

We can be caught between two fears—the fear of what will happen if we, as a society, continue the way we’re going and the fear of acknowledging how bad things are because of the despair that doing so brings up. (pg. 65)

Macy and Johnstone go on to describe a method of working with these feelings of despair, that she coined The Work that Reconnects. They write that a “central principle is that pain for the world, a phrase that covers a range of feelings including outrage, alarm, grief, guilt, dread and despair, is a normal, healthy response to a world in trauma.” (p. 67)

Macy and Johnstone have been offering workshops and the template to create groups around The Work That Reconnects for many years. They argue that when we allow ourselves to admit our deepest feelings about what’s happening in our world within a safe group, a space is created where a shift can happen. They write,

When we touch into our depths, we find that the pit is not bottomless. When people are able to tell the truth about what they know, see and feel is happening to their world, a transformation occurs.

A range of factors acts together to bring about this shift. It is enlivening to go with, rather than against, the flow of our deep-felt responses to the world. Second, we feel tremendous relief on realizing our solidarity with others. (p. 70)

They describe the grief process developed y J. William Worden, including the stages of first accepting the loss and second, feeling the pain of grief. Macy writes, “each day we lose valuable parts of our biosphere as species become extinct and ecosystems destroyed—yet where is their funeral service? …we need to digest the bad news. That is what rouses us to respond.” (p. 71)

Right now it feels like more than a funeral service, but rather a global memorial is needed to honor all the sentient lives that are being lost with every passing week, month, and season. Our world is being swept away, destroyed and reformed into something different as we go about our lives, with one foot in each—the old world that’s dying, and the new one, forming under the very ground we are shakily standing on. Perhaps the best metaphor for our current state can be found in a remarkable story in this weekend’s Guardian. A Norwegian luxury liner found itself in big trouble as it ran into a section of very rough waters off the Norway coast. Huge waves rocked the ship, as its engines failed. The captain sent a mayday distress signal to the mainland, who responded by sending emergency rescue teams to take the guests off the ship to safety. This was a tricky and careful operation, involving smaller boats, several helicopters, and an entire team of rescuers. Eventually, the engines were restarted, and the luxury liner was escorted back out of the danger zone, and into a safe harbor farther south along the coast. The crew said that they were very close to a major disaster, had the liner run aground among rocks in the shallow coastal waters. Fortunately, the crew was able to prevent that from happening, and everyone got through the disaster alive, with few injuries. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/23/hundreds-evacuated-from-cruise-ship-off-norwegian-coast)

In a sea of dramatic and worse news stories, this story appears as a sign of hope. Yes, the people on board the ship were suddenly in a life-threatening situation. They, I assume, all experienced the profound fear of realizing their lives were at stake. They stared mortality in the face, in the middle of an otherwise lovely holiday on a cruise ship. By the end, they were saved from death and forever changed by the experience. And isn’t that what we are collectively experiencing together on our planet now? We are staring at the mortality, not only of uncountable numbers of species, but of coastlines, wetlands, forests, ice sheets, coral reefs, and myriad other natural formations that we’ve known for thousands of years. And we’re staring at our own possible mortality, if we can’t find the way to turn our ship around and get out of the danger zone we’ve created. We must all be willing to talk about it, as Joanna Macy points out. To talk and to acknowledge our fears, our grief, and our bafflement at our situation.

Hurricanes, Typhoons and the Future

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Image source: https://blogs.nasa.gov/hurricanes/tag/tropical-cyclone-6/

As you are aware, September is hurricane season in the northern hemisphere. If you are a weatherphile, you’ve probably been following Hurricane Florence this past week as it wound its way west from the middle of the Atlantic towards the Carolinas, making landfall on Friday. Yes, it was extreme, with storm surges, uprooting trees and flash flooding, and about twelve unfortunate people who lost their lives in the storm. Amazingly, the Outer Banks islands of North Carolina were mostly spared, and the groups of wild horses who live on them (yes, there are still wild horses on the East Coast, incredibly), survived the storm and are doing fine, according to Facebook reports. This is good news, since all the major American news outlets reported for days on the possibly catastrophic damage that Florence could bring. It might have been much worse, so let’s count our blessings, right?

Southern Asia, on the other hand, has been hit hard by Typhoon Mangkhut this weekend. Here’s a link to a YouTube video with incredible raw footage of what’s been happening there (you might want to ignore the dramatic music, though).  https://youtu.be/rTQjpnUxp_I

According to the BBC news, (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45543664) dozens of people in the Philippines have died as a result of the typhoon. In Hong Kong, the effects of the storm, flooding and storm surge damaged buildings and stopped normal movement in the city. Right now, the typhoon is moving across southern China, through the Guizhou, Chongquing and Yunnan provinces. Over 2.5 million people have been evacuated from Guangdong and Hainan Island this weekend. The news report stated that over 200 people were injured in Hong Kong, with wind speeds reaching over 110 mph, and storm surges as high as 12 feet (3.5 meters).  Damage to high rise apartments included smashed glass windows, scaffolding crashing to the ground, metal plates careening through the sky, while on the ground cars and pedestrians were inundated by the flood waters. Many thousands were stranded as hundreds of flights were cancelled, roadways closed, and train service stopped. For the moment, the area has come to a standstill.

We can look at weather events such as these from various angles. One of the most obvious is that of scale. During the past decade, the frequency and magnitude of hurricanes and typhoons have scaled up. This type of upscaling of extreme weather has been predicted by meteorologists using cutting edge technology for the past several years. The science is solid: global warming is behind the increase of events, and their ever-increasing strength. Questions remain: how does the global community cope with nearly continuous extreme weather events, and what are we doing to mitigate their effects, and slow down the trajectory of tragedy in the decades ahead?

The Paris Climate Agreement was signed by world leaders almost three years ago. Since then, under the Trump administration, the United States reneged on their responsibility to keep their emissions under the 1.5 degree (Celsius) warming ceiling, and pulled out of the global agreement. However, state and city government leaders, along with the business community, made it clear immediately following the announcement from the White House, that they were fully still in the Paris agreement regardless of what the federal administration decided. Since that time, a coalition of mayors, governors, CEOs and community leaders from around the world have been working on innovating ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming.

This past week in San Francisco, hundreds of those leaders gathered for the Global Action Climate Summit, hosted by California Governor Jerry Brown and a large team of dedicated people. Thousands of people from across the globe attended the event, which was live-streamed for two days via YouTube and Facebook. Here are some links to find out about some of the outcomes of this extraordinary and important event.

https://www.globalclimateactionsummit.org/step-up/

https://www.globalclimateactionsummit.org/

In a high-level talanoa (dialogue) held at the start of the summit, the following statements were made by world leaders on climate change action:

Paris was a great moment of bold and focused leadership; an example of what is possible when leaders are committed to stepping up ambition. But now, to move the vision of the Paris Agreement forward, to turn its words into action, and to deliver results on the ground, the world now needs a new kind of leadership.

We are already seeing this leadership emerging. Those who think globally and for the long term. Those who are convinced and concerned about climate change. Those who put the interests of society in front of their own. Those who are courageous, determined, committed and perseverant. And, above all, those who realize that they need to work together in pursuit of a common goal.

But the fact remains, no single leader will be able to take on this challenge by themselves. To reach a net-zero emissions society, we must move beyond a single company, a single sector or city, or a single country. Leaders from across the world must, within their constituencies and jurisdictions, listen to what science is saying, and translate a global vision into local action. They must make bold decisions, provide the necessary resources and motivate and mobilize the people they can influence to follow-through and deliver.  (https://www.globalclimateactionsummit.org/outcome-of-high-level-talanoa/)

The biggest call to action coming out of the summit was for 100% clean energy by all countries of the world, as soon as possible. This call is being emphasized and encouraged by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The year 2020 came up over and over as a benchmark year: many believe that our world will reach an irreconcilable point with the effects of global warming, if we don’t make some major changes to our energy usage during the next two years. In other words, the time for real, on-the-ground action for clean energy is NOW.

Looking at the footage of Typhoon Mangkhut, (as well as extreme weather events happening every day across the globe) it is unimaginable that anyone living on Earth at this moment would not agree that humanity needs to step up and change the ways we are living. Fossil fuel use is simply killing life on Earth, it cannot be stated in any plainer terms. Positive change is on the horizon, and clever people all around the world are working tirelessly towards a clean energy future, not a moment too soon.

 

The mountain is very high, but is it insurmountable?

Ahead of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, gave a public speech from UN headquarters in New York City.  Amidst yet more news of wildfires in Northern California, typhoons in Asia, massive flooding in Spain, Turkey and Russia, and a possible category 4 hurricane making landfall off the Carolina coast this week, it feels critically important for all of us on Earth to hear and heed the Secretary-General’s impassioned speech.  Below is a transcript, and here is a link to watch it:

 

REMARKS ON CLIMATE CHANGE [as delivered]

Source: https://www.globalclimateactionsummit.org/secretary-general/

New York, 10 September 2018

Dear friends of planet Earth,

Thank you for coming to the UN Headquarters today. I have asked you here to sound the alarm. Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment.

We face a direct existential threat. Climate change is moving faster than we are – and its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across our world. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.

That is why, today, I am appealing for leadership – from politicians, from business and scientists, and from the public everywhere. We have the tools to make our actions effective. What we still lack – even after the Paris Agreement – is the leadership and the ambition to do what is needed.

Dear friends, Let there be no doubt about the urgency of the crisis. We are experiencing record-breaking temperatures around the world. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the past two decades included 18 of the warmest years since 1850, when records began.

This year is shaping up to be the fourth hottest. Extreme heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods are leaving a trail of death and devastation. Last month the state of Kerala in India suffered its worst monsoon flooding in recent history, killing 400 people and driving 1 million more from their homes. We know that Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people in Puerto Rico last year, making it one of the deadliest extreme weather disasters in U.S. history.

Many of those people died in the months after the storm because they lacked access to electricity, clean water and proper healthcare due to the hurricane. What makes all of this even more disturbing is that we were warned.

Scientists have been telling us for decades. Over and over again. Far too many leaders have refused to listen. Far too few have acted with the vision the science demands. We see the results. In some situations, they are approaching scientists’ worst-case scenarios. Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than we imagined possible.

This year, for the first time, thick permanent sea ice north of Greenland began to break up. This dramatic warming in the Arctic is affecting weather patterns across the northern hemisphere. Wildfires are lasting longer and spreading further. Some of these blazes are so big that they send soot and ash around the world, blackening glaciers and ice caps and making them melt even faster. Oceans are becoming more acidic, threatening the foundation of the food chains that sustain life. Corals are dying in vast amounts, further depleting vital fisheries.

And, on land, the high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making rice crops less nutritious, threatening well-being and food security for billions of people. As climate change intensifies, we will find it harder to feed ourselves. Extinction rates will spike as vital habitats decline.

More and more people will be forced to migrate from their homes as the land they depend on becomes less able to support them. This is already leading to many local conflicts over dwindling resources.

This past May, the World Meteorological Organization reported that the planet marked another grim milestone: the highest monthly average for carbon dioxide levels ever recorded. Four hundred parts per million has long been seen as a critical threshold. But we have now surpassed 411 parts per millions and the concentrations continue to rise. This is the highest concentration in 3 million years.

Dear friends, We know what is happening to our planet. We know what we need to do. And we even know how to do it. But sadly, the ambition of our action is nowhere near where it needs to be.

When world leaders signed the Paris Agreement on climate change three years ago, they pledged to stop temperatures rising by less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to work to keep the increase as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. These targets were really the bare minimum to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

But scientists tell us that we are far off track. According to a UN study, the commitments made so far by Parties to the Paris Agreement represent just one-third of what is needed.

The mountain in front of us is very high. But it is not insurmountable. We know how to scale it. Put simply, we need to put the brake on deadly greenhouse gas emissions and drive climate action.

We need to rapidly shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels. We need to replace them with clean energy from water, wind and sun. We must halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and change the way we farm.

We need to embrace the circular economy and resource efficiency. Our cities and transport sectors will need to be overhauled. How we heat, cool and light our buildings will need to be rethought so we waste less energy.

And this is exactly where this conversation can become exciting. Because, so much of the conversation on climate change focuses on the doom and gloom. Of course, warnings are necessary. But fear will not get the job done. No, what captures my imagination is the vast opportunity afforded by climate action.

Dear friends, Enormous benefits await humankind if we can rise to the climate challenge. A great many of these benefits are economic. I have heard the argument – usually from vested interests — that tackling climate change is expensive and could harm economic growth.

This is hogwash. In fact, the opposite is true. We are experiencing huge economic losses due to climate change. Over the past decade, extreme weather and the health impact of burning fossil fuels have cost the American economy at least 240 billion dollars a year.

This cost will explode by 50 per cent in the coming decade alone. By 2030, the loss of productivity caused by a hotter world could cost the global economy 2 trillion dollars. More and more studies also show the enormous benefits of climate action.

Last week I was at the launch of the New [Climate] Economy report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change. It shows that that climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually supportive, with gains of 26 trillion dollars predicted by 2030 compared with business as usual. If we pursue the right path.

For example, for every dollar spent restoring degraded forests, as much as $30 dollars can be recouped in economic benefits and poverty reduction. Restoring degraded lands means better lives and income for farmers and pastoralists and less pressure to migrate to cities. Climate-resilient water supply and sanitation could save the lives of more than 360,000 infants every year.

And clean air has vast benefits for public health. The International Labour Organization reports that common sense green economy policies could create 24 million new jobs globally by 2030. In China and the United States, new renewable energy jobs now outstrip those created in the oil and gas industries

And, in Bangladesh the installation of more than four million solar home systems has created more than 115,000 jobs and saved rural households over 400 million dollars in polluting fuels.

So, not only would a shift to renewable energy save money, it would also create new jobs, waste less water, boost food production and clean the polluted air that is killing us. There is nothing to lose from acting; there is everything to gain. Now, there are still many who think that the challenge is too great.

But I deeply disagree.

Humankind has confronted and overcome immense challenges before; challenges that have required us to work together and to put aside division and difference to fight a common threat.

That is how the United Nations came into action. It is how we have to helped to end wars, to stop diseases, to reduce global poverty and to heal the ozone hole.

Now we stand at an existential crossroad. If we are to take the right path – the only sensible path — we will have to muster the full force of human ingenuity. But that ingenuity exists and is already providing solutions.

And so dear friends, another central message – technology is on our side in the battle to address climate change. The rise of renewable energy has been tremendous. Today, it is competitive [with] – or even cheaper – than coal and oil, especially if one factors in the cost of pollution.

Last year, China invested 126 billion dollars in renewable energy, an increase of 30 per cent on the previous year. Sweden is set to hit its 2030 target for renewable energy this year – 12 years early.

By 2030, wind and solar energy could power more than a third of Europe. Morocco is building a solar farm the size of Paris that will power more than one million homes by 2020 with clean, affordable energy. Scotland has opened the world’s first floating wind farm.

There are many other signs of hope.

Countries rich in fossil fuels, like the Gulf States and Norway, are exploring ways to diversify their economies. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in renewables to move from an oil economy to an energy economy.

Norway’s 1 trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund – the largest in the world – has moved away from investments in coal and has dropped a number of palm and pulp-paper companies because of the forests they destroy. There are also promising signs that businesses are waking up to the benefits of climate action.

More than 130 of the world’s largest and most influential businesses plan to power their operations with 100 per cent renewable energy. Eighteen multinationals will shift to electric vehicle fleets. And more than 400 firms will develop targets based on the latest science in order to manage their emissions.

One of the world’s biggest insurers – Allianz – will stop insuring coal-fired power plants. Investments are shifting too. More than 250 investors representing 28 trillion dollars in assets have signed on to the Climate Action 100+ initiative. They have committed to engage with the world’s largest corporate greenhouse [gas] emitters to improve their climate performance and ensure transparent disclosure of emissions.

Many such examples are going to be showcased this week at the important Global Climate Action Summit being convened by Governor Brown in California. All the pioneers I mentioned have seen the future. They are betting on green because they understand this is the path to prosperity and peace on a healthy planet.

The alternative is a dark and dangerous future. These are all important strides. But they are not enough. The transition to a cleaner, greener future needs to speed up. We stand at a truly “use it or lose it” moment. Over the next decade or so, the world will invest some 90 trillion dollars in infrastructure.

And so we must ensure that that infrastructure is sustainable or we will lock in a high-polluting dangerous future. And for that to happen, the leaders of the world need to step up. The private sector, of course, is poised to move, and many are doing so. But a lack of decisive government action is causing uncertainty in the markets and concern about the future of the Paris Agreement.

We can’t let this happen.

Existing technologies are waiting to come online – cleaner fuels, alternative building materials, better batteries and advances in farming and land use. These and other innovations can have a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so we can hit the Paris targets and inject the great ambition that is so urgently needed.

Governments must also end harmful subsidies for fossil fuels, institute carbon pricing that reflects the true cost of polluting greenhouse [gas] emissions and incentivizes the clean energy transition.

Dear friends, I have spoken of the emergency we face, the benefits of action and the feasibility of a climate-friendly transformation.

There is another reason to act — moral duty. The world’s richest nations are the most responsible for the climate crisis, yet the effects are being felt first and worst by the poorest nations and the most vulnerable peoples and communities. We already see this injustice in the incessant and increasing cycle of extreme droughts and ever more powerful storms. Women and girls, in particular, will pay the price – not only because their lives will become harder but because, in times of disaster, women and girls always suffer disproportionally.

Richer nations must therefore not only cut their emissions but do more to ensure that the most vulnerable can develop the necessary resilience to survive the damage these emissions are causing. It is important to note that, because carbon dioxide is long-lasting in the atmosphere, the climate changes we are already seeing will persist for decades to come. It is necessary for all nations to adapt, and for the richest ones to assist the most vulnerable.

Dear friends, This is the message I would like to make clear in addressing the world leaders this month’s in the General Assembly in New York. I will tell them that climate change is the great challenge of our time. That, thanks to science, we know its size and nature. That we have the ingenuity, and the resources and tools to face it. And that leaders must lead.

We have the moral and economic incentives to act. What is still missing – still, even after Paris – is the leadership, and the sense of urgency and true commitment to [a] decisive multilateral response. Negotiations towards implementation guidelines for operationalizing the Paris Agreement ended yesterday in Bangkok with some progress — but far from enough. The next key moment is in Poland in December.

I call on leaders to use every opportunity between now and then — the G7, the G20 gatherings as well as meetings of the General Assembly, World Bank and International Monetary Fund — to resolve the sticking points. We cannot allow Katowice to remind us of Copenhagen.

The time has come for our leaders to show they care about the people whose fate they hold in their hands. We need them to show they care about the future – and even the present. That is why I am so pleased to have such a strong representation of youth in the audience today.

It is imperative that civil society — youth, women’s groups, the private sector, communities of faith, scientists and grassroots movements around the world — call their leaders to account. As I was told myself by my Youth Envoy.

I call — in particular — on women’s leadership. When women are empowered to lead, they are the drivers of solutions. Nothing less than our future and the fate of humankind depends on how we rise to the climate challenge. It affects every aspect of the work of the United Nations. Keeping our planet’s warming to well below 2 degrees is essential for global prosperity, people’s well-being and the security of nations. That is why, next September, I will convene a Climate Summit to bring climate action to the top of the international agenda.

Today, I am announcing the appointment of Luis Alfonso de Alba, a well-respected leader in the climate community, as my Special Envoy to lead those preparations. His efforts will complement those of my Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, and my Special Advisor Bob Orr, who will help to mobilize private finance and catalyze bottom-up action. The Summit next year will come exactly one year before countries will have to enhance their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.

Only a significantly higher level of ambition will do. To that end, the Summit will focus on areas that go to the heart of the problem – the sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience will make the biggest difference. The Summit will provide an opportunity for leaders and partners to demonstrate real climate action and showcase their ambition. We will bring together players from the real economy and real politics, including representatives of trillions of dollars of assets, both public and private.

I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century. We need cities and states to shift from coal to solar and wind — from brown to green energy. Our great host city, New York, is taking important steps in this direction — and working with other municipalities to spur change. We need increased investments and innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies across buildings, transport, and industry. And we need the oil and gas industry to make their business plans compatible with the Paris agreement and the Paris targets.

I want to see a strong expansion in carbon pricing. I want us to get the global food system right by ensuring that we grow our food without chopping down large tracts of forest. We need sustainable food supply chains that reduce loss and waste. And we must halt deforestation and restore degraded lands.

I want to rapidly speed up the trend towards green financing by banks and insurers, and encourage innovation in financial and debt instruments to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable nations such as small island states and bolster their defences against climate change. And I want to see governments fulfilling their pledge to mobilize 100 billion dollars a year for climate action in support of the developing world.

We need to see the Green Climate Fund become fully operational and fully resourced. But for all this, we need governments, industry and civil society reading from the same page – with governments front and centre driving the movement for climate action.

I am calling on all leaders to come to next year’s Climate Summit prepared to report not only on what they are doing, but what more they intend to do when they convene in 2020 for the UN climate conference and where commitments will be renewed and surely ambitiously increased.

And it is why I am calling on civil society, and young people in particular, to campaign for climate action. Let us use the next year for transformational decisions in boardrooms, executive suites and parliaments across the world. Let us raise our sights, build coalitions and make our leaders listen.

I commit myself, and the entire United Nations, to this effort. We will support all leaders who rise to the challenge I have outlined today.

Dear friends, there is no more time to waste. As the ferocity of this summer’s wildfires and heatwaves shows, the world is changing before our eyes. We are careering towards the edge of the abyss. It is not too late to shift course, but every day that passes means the world heats up a little more and the cost of our inaction mounts.

Every day we fail to act is a day that we step a little closer towards a fate that none of us wants — a fate that will resonate through generations in the damage done to humankind and life on earth.

Our fate is in our hands.

The world is counting on all of us to rise to the challenge before it’s too late.

I count on you all.

Thank you.