G20 must lead by example on climate crisis


Denis McClean

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Symbol for SDG13 Climate Action
Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires action on climate change
United Nations

Official statement on "Sustaining efforts to ensure access to sustainable energy" by the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, July 8, 2020

There is no doubt that fossil fuels are a major contributor to the alarming levels of increasingly systemic disaster risk across the world.

The five years since the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted have been the hottest on record, and the number of extreme weather events has almost doubled over the last twenty years.

 Many countries are now challenged with responding to extreme weather events such as cyclones, drought and storms while struggling to contain COVID-19.

The resulting loss of lives and damage to the global economy makes it ever harder to achieve the SDGs. Nothing erodes development gains like a disaster.

Access to affordable and clean energy has co-benefits across the SDGs. These include Sustainable Cities and Communities, an SDG which is at the heart of UNDRR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign.

A key guiding principle of the Sendai Framework is to ensure that all new investments are risk-informed to avoid the creation of new disaster risk. 

This is especially important for energy sector infrastructure which in turn supports other critical infrastructure on which societies depend.

The experience of these last few months has told us that we need to strengthen disaster risk governance and tackle existential risk on a scale never seen before.

We need to recover better from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that requires political commitment and ambition to fight climate change, and a wholesale switch to sustainable energy.

We look to the G20 nations, responsible for almost 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, to lead by example.

Thank you for your attention.

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