Ban Ki-moon, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, has urged leaders set to attend President Biden’s virtual climate summit this week to “leave no one behind”.
Mr Ban led efforts to sign the 2015 Paris climate agreement and now chairs the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. His open letter to the international leaders was shared exclusively with The Independent.
His letter appears in full below.
Five years ago, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement. This was a remarkable moment in history when world leaders around the globe unanimously came to a consensus on committing to slow down the rise in temperatures, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and elevate climate-resilient development and adaptation.
Yet emissions continue to rise. So does the global thermostat – and the risks to lives and livelihoods. No nation or community is immune from the impact of climate change, but the vulnerable are feeling the effects first and worst.
Climate impacts are increasing. Scientists have underscored the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. A key goal of both the US Leaders Summit on Climate and COP26 will be to catalyze efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach.
This year we must address the urgency and magnitude of the challenge. That is why this Summit is so important. On Thursday, over forty world leaders are meeting again. I salute the United States for rejoining the Paris Accord and for convening this meeting. It is a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.
A successful summit depends on each of you. This is an opportunity to outline how your countries will commit to stronger climate ambition. I urge you to be as ambitious as possible. I encourage all participants to build on the foundation established in Paris - a valuable blueprint to mitigate and adapt to the serious threats to our planet. Only bold action, strong commitments and a sense of urgency will save our planet. The stakes could not be higher.
The US Leaders Summit on Climate underscores the urgency of stronger climate action and helping vulnerable countries adapt to climate change. There is no time to waste. Thursday’s summit must take us closer to our goal — a healthy planet. I commend this collective display of leadership and urge you to make ambitious commitments to achieve this goal.
As I said at the signing of the Paris Accord — only through such solidarity can we limit climate risks and build a world of peace, dignity, and prosperity on a healthy planet – leaving no one behind.
I thank you for your leadership and wish you a productive Summit.
8th Secretary-General of the United Nations
Supported by Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and Global Citizen
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