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United Nations

December 11 2019

Science is telling us that the impacts of climate change are happening now, and faster than we had predicted. The initial national climate pledges (Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) made under the Paris Agreement are inadequate. People around the world have demonstrated that they understand the severity of the challenge and are asking for

Responding to the urgent need to scale-up climate action, the Secretary-General convened the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019 to focus global attention in the face of the
worsening climate crisis and to forge new pathways ahead to support the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Grounded in science and building on the global framework of the Paris Agreement, the Summit focused on nine key action areas: youth and public mobilization; social and political drivers; energy transition; finance and carbon pricing; resilience and adaptation; nature-based solutions; industry transition; mitigation strategy; and cities infrastructure and local action.

Political leadership was demonstrated during the Summit with the commitments of 70 countries to deliver more ambitious NDCs in 2020 in line with net zero emissions by 2050 strategies. But these countries only account for less than 10 percent of the world’s GHG emissions. If none of the major emitters formally committed to more ambitious NDCs, some of them “committed to commit” by the end of 2020. Finally, 75 countries committed to deliver 2050 net zero emissions strategies by 2020.

Through concrete examples, the Summit highlighted how climate action can have tangible impacts on people’s lives, including on their jobs and health, and therefore the need to align policies and systems to accelerate the implementation of both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).