Clear, decisive and urgent action on agreeing a new global climate deal is essential to minimize the impacts of climate change and protect the world's most vulnerable populations, some of the world's top authorities on climate change said during a meeting of environment ministers in Mexico.
The international community has agreed to finalize a new global agreement on climate change by 2015, making 2014 a pivotal year for generating momentum on negotiations. As part of this gathering pace, representatives from 31 countries engaged with international experts at a Ministerial Dialogue on climate change as part of the 19th Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, in Mexico.
'There can only be one plan, because there is only one planet,' said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 'We don't have any other option but to reach a global agreement.'
The world is also working towards developing a new set of sustainable development goals, and the delegates heard that tackling climate change will be crucial to avoid hamstringing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
'Climate science is at the heart of sustainable policy making. Without appropriate measures of climate change, poverty will increase, it will be a threat multiplier, and climate change certainly adds to the list of stresses that challenge our ability to achieve the ecological, economic and social objectives that are very much a part of sustainable development,' said Rajendra K. Pachauri, President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): 'Today's special session on climate change helped to focus attention on the reality that climate change is already affecting the lives and economies of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Countries have begun to respond with national programmes and policies such as Mexico's pioneering climate law, but the dialogue confirmed that national action must be complemented through a global framework for action. The next climate COP in Lima represents a critical milestone in the renewed effort to achieve a global agreement in 2015. Failure to do so was repeatedly highlighted by the distinguished group of panellists as imposing unacceptable risk to the future development of the region.'
Mario Molina, Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate: 'If there is a risk of 5, 10 or 20 percent that there will be very costly disasters, that risk is unacceptable for society. That is what the scientific community is evaluating with more certainty. As an example, the Amazon rainforest could disappear or monsoon rains could change.'
José Luis Samaniego, Director of the Division of Sustainable Development and Human Settlements of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC): 'We are trying to convince economic policy makers that there is profit to be made through adaptation and mitigation, that we could identify the cumulative costs for loss and damage in Latin America throughout the XXI century, and we have policies that make no social, economic or environmental sense, such as subsidies to fossil fuels.'
Minister of the Environment of Peru, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal: 'The Lima COP, which will take place from 1 to 12 December, is a central element. There is no way to be successful in 2015 if we are not ambitious and we don't achieve a solid?a very solid?draft, which will be agreed on next year as a result of the Lima COP. We know and we believe that Latin America and the Caribbean and Peru can prove their ability to achieve that draft climate agreement.'
The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, Juan José Guerra Abud: 'Mexico is already acting. Mexico is assuming its commitment to reduce its green house gas emissions. Not only because it is a mandate of the General Law on Climate Change, but also because that is the will of the President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto'.