Dear UN Global Compact Participant,
Welcome to the Decade of Action: As we enter into 2020, allow me to share with you some reflections about my fears, hopes and great expectations for an important year — at the threshold of a critically important new decade that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has named the “Decade of Action".
I fear that we are running out of time: At the startline for the Decade of Action, the world is falling badly behind in the race to avert the climate crisis. 2019 was the hottest year on record, concluding the hottest decade on record. And the trend is set to continue. In November 2019, 11,000 climate scientists sounded the alarm, saying the Earth is “clearly and unequivocally” facing a climate emergency and warning that we are running out of time to reverse the trend.
We are all impacted by climate change. Heatwaves, wildfires, storms, droughts, floods and rising sea levels are threatening the livelihoods and safety of billions of people. For some, survival relies on global leadership and action NOW. In May 2019, the UN Secretary-General visited Tuvalu, a country that, together with other island countries in the Pacific Ocean, faces sea-level rise four times greater than the global average. And yet, despite hard scientific data and living proof, we all left disappointed from COP 25 in Madrid and its urgent call to Governments to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. In fact, rather than falling, CO2 emissions continue to rise.