Sebastián Piñera Echenique, President of Chile, told global leaders that there has been a global change in attitude towards the threat of climate change. “Here in New York, what I have seen is that governments and communities alike recognize the responsibility we have,” he said, noting that 66 countries (including Chile) have now committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.
Chile is aggressively moving to fully decarbonize its energy matrix, to migrate all public transport to electric power from fossil fuels, to set strict energy standards in all sectors and to fight deforestation, Piñera said.
“We are the first generation to suffer the consequences of climate change and the last that can act to avoid tragedy,” he said, adding: “Young people are pushing us to go faster and farther. It is absolutely necessary. Message received.”
Chile will host the international COP 25 climate meeting in December and Piñera promised to work to achieve progress there to stop global warning. His goals for the meeting include more aggressive national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; stronger private sector involvement to achieve those targets, including carbon bonds and carbon markets; and new obligations to protect the oceans, rainforests and other natural resources. Reducing inequality is critical, too, and Chile has pledged to end poverty inside its borders by the end of the next decade.
Chile, which has free trade agreements with countries representing over 80% of global GDP, has benefited enormously from free trade, supported by strong domestic institutions, Piñera said. He called for fortifying and modernizing the World Trade Organization to take it into the digital age, and he said the world would benefit if the United States and China resolved their trade tensions.
Piñera concluded his speech at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit with a renewed expression of urgency and hope. “After so much discussion, people have realized that the time has come to act. I hope that this new attitude will be expressed in commitments and actions at the COP 25 in December this year.”
The Sustainable Development Impact Summit takes place in New York, 23-24 September. This year’s meeting will convene more than 800 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. The meeting will explore four themes: transforming markets, accelerating climate action, financing sustainable development and mobilizing action for inclusive societies.