Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, has welcomed attendees to Glasgow for the long-awaited COP26 climate summit, which began yesterday.
She addressed the situation faced by the planet in the last two years, stating: “Congratulations to those in this room, those watching online and to everyone involved in this process.
“Think back on the last two years since we last met in Madrid. The early confusion, the pandemic and what it could mean for our process.
“Think about the decisions we made together, the skills we developed together to take advantage of communication technologies! Think also of those we lost to COVID-19 — our hearts are with those who continue to suffer.”
Ms Espinosa stressed that this hard work should not be in vain and referenced the words of Scottish poet Robert Burns in her speech, warning “now is the day, now is the hour” when it comes to tackling climate change.
She emphasised the opportunity for success at the conference but that hard work and cooperation between all nations was the only way to achieve this.
Reference was made to the $100 billion in climate finance that is to be made available for developing countries, as she said: “Without the necessary support we will not be able to embark on the transformations needed to achieve the 1.5° goal. This is not only about the 100 billion. We need to mobilise the trillions.”
Her speech called for togetherness in approaching climate change: “If we are sincere in calling climate change a global issue, then total inclusion must be the foundation upon which this process is built.
“We are all facing the same climate emergency. We must all be part of the solution.”
“Let us rise to the enormous challenge of our times, this pivotal point in history and achieve success for not just our present generation but all generations to come”, she concluded.