NEW YORK (September 20, 2023) — The UN Climate Ambition Summit concluded today at the UN Headquarters, with heads of state and world leaders making speeches, showing progress and announcing new commitments on climate action. The summit came on the heels of a massive march in the streets of New York where thousands gathered calling for an end to fossil fuels. 

Taking place alongside New York Climate Week, the SDGs Summit and UN General Assembly, the Summit is an important milestone on the road to COP28 in Dubai. There countries will determine how to respond to the Global Stocktake report findings to keep the 1.5 degrees C goal alive and address climate impacts.

Following is a statement from David Waskow, Director, International Climate Initiative, World Resources Institute:

“The small steps countries offered are welcome, but they’re like trying to put out an inferno with a leaking hose. There is simply a huge mismatch between the depth of actions governments and businesses are taking and the transformative shifts that are needed to address the climate crisis.”

“The Secretary-General clearly laid out how countries must hit “fast forward” with his Acceleration Agenda. A few countries rallied behind the agenda, but far too many key players didn’t touch the accelerator. And some of the biggest emitters were noticeably absent from the stage.

“Germany stepped up with its replenishment commitment to the Green Climate Fund, Denmark shifted its net zero goal forward to 2045, and Brazil committed to undo the previous administration's backsliding on its climate target.

“Outside the Summit, thousands of people of marched in the streets calling for an end to fossil fuels, businesses showed how they are reducing food waste though overall progress is lagging, new evidence highlighted the immense potential of ocean-based climate solutions, and the COP Presidency rightly elevated cities’ role on climate action, announcing the first-ever local climate summit will take place at COP28 this year.

“All eyes are now on COP28. Governments have a historic opportunity to correct course, transitioning to a better economy that lifts people out of poverty and provides people with good jobs and clean power. They should be spending the next two months rallying behind a rapid response plan to the Global Stocktake like people’s lives depend on it — because they do. 

“At COP28, countries should commit to rapidly shift away from fossil fuels and triple renewable energy, double the share of fossil-free transport and transform food systems to address the growing hunger crisis and cut emissions. And countries must operationalize the loss and damage fund and deliver on previous commitments to climate-vulnerable countries, such as doubling adaptation finance by 2025 and fulfilling the $100 billion goal. 

“The onus is especially on the world’s wealthy countries and biggest emitters to step up both by drastically cutting their own emissions and showing solidarity with climate-vulnerable countries.”