Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to declare open the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
My friends, let me begin by thanking our friends here in Egypt for such a warm welcome.
My team and I know how demanding organizing such a conference is and how many people have worked incredibly hard to get us to this point.
Well done and thank you again.
Now that the UK Presidency is coming to an end, I want to reflect on what we achieved together in Glasgow,
and also what has happened since the year of our presidency.
Last November, the world came together at COP26 against a fractured and restless geopolitics, as a once-in-a-century pandemic dragged on relentlessly.
And yet, the leaders recognized that, despite their often deep differences, cooperation on climate and nature is in our collective interest.
And through that spirit of cooperation and compromise, we have together forged the Glasgow Climate Pact.
Together we have achieved something historic and hopeful.
With your help:
We have closed the Paris Rulebook.
We have made unprecedented progress on coal and on fossil fuel subsidies.
We are committed to rapidly scaling up funding and doubling adaptation funding by 2025.
We reiterated the urgency to act and support loss and damage, and established serious work on funding modalities.
We hope this will pave the way for a formal agenda item and tangible progress here in Egypt.
And each Party, and I repeat, each Party has committed to reviewing and strengthening its emission reduction targets for 2030, to align with Paris.
I would like to thank the 29 countries that have already updated their CDNs from Glasgow.
From Australia to Micronesia.
India to Vanuatu.
Norway in Gabon.
And we have also progressed outside the trading rooms, with commitments from business, finance, philanthropy.
Friends, thanks to the work we have done together, we have achieved our goal, the goal at the heart of the Paris Agreement:
we maintained 1.5 degrees alive.
However, none of us could have predicted the year that followed.
We have been rocked by global headwinds that have tested our ability to move forward.
Putin’s brutal and illegal war in Ukraine has precipitated multiple global crises: energy and food insecurity, inflationary pressures and spiraling debt.
These crises have compounded existing climate vulnerabilities and the scarring effects of the pandemic.
And yet, despite this context, there has been progress in implementing the commitments we made in Glasgow.
More than 90% of the global economy is now covered by a net zero target, up from less than 30% when the UK took on the role of COP26.
The world’s largest corporations and financial institutions have pledged to achieve net zero and they have done so in full force,
with a global wall of capital creating green jobs and channeling billions into the green industries of today and tomorrow.
Countries and companies are making tangible sectoral progress,
from zero-emission vehicles to our revolutionary program,
and accelerate the deployment of renewable energies around the world.
The Secretary General was clear: our common long-term future does not lie in fossil fuels and I fully agree with him.
Every major report released this year highlights the fact that progress is being made.
Thanks to the pledges we collected before and at COP26, and even during our year as President, emissions in 2030 are expected to be around six gigatonnes lower.
This equates to 12% of today’s global annual emissions.
And with full implementation of all commitments in place today, including NDCs and net zero targets, reports suggest we are heading for 1.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century.
But still, progress.
So, to those who remain skeptical about the multilateral process, and the COP process in particular, my message is clear:
cumbersome and sometimes frustrating as these processes can be, the system performs well.
And there are a lot of people to thank for that.
And certainly too many to name.
Prime ministers and presidents who have sensed the changing tide and have indeed sought to exploit it.
Ministers to Miners who have recognized a just and sustainable future can only be delivered with a clean energy transition.
The civil society organisations, youth representatives and indigenous peoples who pushed us to consider and reconsider what was possible in Glasgow, have continued to do so ever since.
And, of course, the brilliant civil servants, the brilliant civil servants around the world, especially in the UK’s COP unit, who have helped to get things done.
And yet, despite this progress, I fully recognize the magnitude of the challenge that remains before us.
Just as each report shows that we are making progress, it is equally clear that much remains to be done in this critical decade.
My friends, we are not currently on a path that keeps 1.5 within reach.
And while I understand that leaders around the world have been faced with competing priorities this year,
you have to be clear,
however difficult our current situation is, inaction is myopic and can only postpone climate catastrophe.
We have to find the ability to focus on more than one thing at a time.
How many more alarm calls do world leaders really need?
A third of Pakistan under water.
Nigeria’s worst floods in a decade.
This year, the worst drought in 500 years in Europe, in a thousand years in the United States and the worst on record in China.
The cascading risks are also clear.
Entire economic sectors become unsustainable and uninsurable,
entire regions become uninhabitable,
and pressure on the global movement of goods,
and the pressure on people to move due to the climate crisis, becoming almost unimaginable.
Therefore, this conference must focus on concrete actions.
And I hope that when world leaders join us today, they will explain what their countries have achieved in the past year and how they will go further.
It’s simply a matter of trust.
Without its constituent members who keep their commitments and agree to go further, the whole system falters.
I will do everything in my power to support our Egyptian friends.
The UK is here to deliver ambitious results across the board, including on mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.
And we know that we have reached a point where finance makes or breaks the work program that we have before us.
So while I would highlight some of the progress seen on the $100 billion,
I hear the criticisms, and I agree that more needs to be done, on the part of governments and multilateral development banks,
including on doubling adaptation finance by 2025 and setting a post-2025 goal.
But in the end, I remain hopeful.
Look where we were before Glasgow.
Look where we were before Paris.
Indeed, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary, let’s review where we were before Rio.
Thanks to all of you, the UK Presidency is ending with a demonstration that progress is possible, happening and continuing.
Yes, we must accelerate this progress for the remainder of this decisive decade.
But I fundamentally believe we can.
We know what we need to do to keep 1.5 degrees alive.
We know how.
And Sameh, you and your team have our full support.
So now my friends, let’s make delivery, let’s make it happen.