More ambition, more urgency: Fijian PM urges leaders at COP24

Michał Kurtyka, Secretary of State in the Environment Ministry, officially took over the COP Presidency from the Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. Picture: cop24.gov.p

FIJIAN Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the world now looks to Poland as COP24 President to continue to fill its sails with a determination to move the climate action agenda forward.

Speaking at the high level segment formally opening COP24 in Katowice, Poland, Mr Bainimarama said the responsibility now falls to Poland to build on the legacy of Fiji and all those nations before us who have steered that canoe.

“As I have said right from the start, we are all in the same canoe in confronting the climate threat,” he said.

“More ambition, more urgency. Because as the scientists have just told us, the window of opportunity to act is closing fast.

“Time is running out and we must move quickly to have any hope of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial age.”

Mr Bainimarama highlighted the recent Emissions Gap Report released by the United Nations Environment Programme that we need to increase our current commitments fivefold to achieve this target.

“Five times more ambition. Five times more action,” he underscored.

As outgoing COP President, Mr Bainimarama has again appealed to fellow leaders to heed the science and summon the political will to tackle this crisis head on.

“The choice before us all has never been so stark. Act now with courage and resolve and we just have time to protect our climate and our way of life.

“Or, God forbid, ignore the irrefutable evidence and become the generation that betrayed humanity and our responsibility to future generations.

“To those who are dragging their feet, I say: please just do it. Short term expediency will cost you and your people ever more dearly the longer you delay.”

Mr Bainimarama said he was “very proud” that Fiji’s COP legacy included the Talanoa Dialogue for ambition, which has seen hundreds of talanoa sessions held throughout the world.

“As many of you know by now, these exchanges of ideas and best practices are based on a Pacific concept of decision-making that is inclusive and respectful,” he said.

“And we look forward next week, with our Polish friends, to co-chairing the Ministerial Talanoa here in Katowice.

“So let’s talanoa for more ambition and make the move to net zero emissions by 2050 an unstoppable force.”

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