Statement by Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Frank Bainimarama to Fellow Leaders in Response to the Release of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC

Report is urgent call to action; nations must “aim higher” in their NDCs

For national leaders, the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is an urgent call to action.

The message is clear – collectively, we are not doing nearly enough to confront the greatest threat humankind has ever faced. Science is telling us that we have entered a frightening new era, and we know that we will face mounting challenges beyond changes to the environment. Our health, our prosperity and our very security are at risk.

The goals of the Paris Agreement are not yet out of reach, but to achieve them will require a realignment of our priorities and an unprecedented global mobilisation to deliver much stronger Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 1.5-degree target and a universal commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

This is the only rational response to this report. We must put an end to even the slightest denial within our ranks of where we need to go from here — a rapid transition to net-zero economies, and a much greater effort to build resilience to the impacts of global warming and to mobilise the funding to pay for it. This denial is as dangerous as a denial of the science itself.

Let us take this detailed report and use it to launch an unprecedented endeavour to realise all the rewards that will come by building cleaner, more resource-efficient and more resilient societies. We are rapidly developing affordable alternatives to fossil fuels in power, transportation and manufacturing, as well as solutions across all other parts of our economies. The technology and the ingenuity that will allow people at all levels of economic development to live better lives while producing fewer greenhouse gases are in our grasp and growing. It is up to us to marshal the political will to match them, and to lead our nations to do our part not just to avert disaster, but to seize the possibilities.

I call on all national leaders to follow Fiji and the Marshall Islands’ lead and aim higher in your national plans to reduce emissions. I am encouraged by those who are already working in this direction and urge others to quickly follow suit. We will have the opportunity to jump start the process of raising our collective ambition at the Talanoa Dialogue at COP24 in Poland. I implore my fellow leaders to come to Katowice fully prepared to take on the decisions, commitments and hard work necessary to save us from a disaster of our own making.