President of Ukraine

President at COP26: Global thinking and world policy priorities need to change - not only financial, but also environmental growth

1 November 2021 - 19:26

President at COP26: Global thinking and world policy priorities need to change - not only financial, but also environmental growth

Stopping the process of global warming is possible only by changing global thinking and priorities of world politics, when a territory is considered not only as a market, but also as a home for thousands of flora and fauna representatives. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a speech at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (UK).

The Head of State reminded that in the summer the Intergovernmental Group of Climate Change Experts published the 6th report, in which the best climatologists came to the paradoxical conclusion: increasing the efficiency of resource use increases, not reduces its consumption.

"It is a paradox, but the implementation of the Paris Agreement is endangered by the implementation of the Paris Agreement," the President said.

According to him, the desire to keep warming at 2-1.5 degrees Celsius, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of coal and oil has led to record demand and gas prices. As a result, coal consumption in the G20 countries increased by 5%, and in coal-fired power plants in Europe in September - by a third.

"According to forecasts, the sector will continue to replace gas with these carriers, and emissions will be higher. According to the UN, the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere is a record of ten years. The temperature on Earth can rise much more than two degrees. New calculations show that in order to curb warming and achieve carbon neutrality, we will have to make many times more efforts than planned in Paris in 2015," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The President reminded that Ukraine had been one of the first in Europe to ratify the Paris Agreement and ranked 4th among 45 parties to the UN Framework Convention in terms of emission reduction.

"Our goal by 2030 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% (from 1990 levels - ed.). And to achieve climate neutrality not later than 2060," the Head of State stressed.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine supports a number of initiatives of this conference, including the Declaration on Forest and Land Use. It is also important for our country to have access to stable and long-term financing, in particular in the framework of the Green Climate Fund.

The Head of State noted that neither the convention on stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases, nor the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement solve the problem, because these documents do not keep up with the challenges of today.

Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the extinction of the Great Barrier Reef, earthquakes in Haiti and the Indian Ocean, tsunamis, floods, fires, droughts around the world and even abnormal rainfall that flooded Glasgow two days before the climate summit, do not become alarm bells and do not speed up each of us. To overcome global warming, we need global warming in the relations of states where trust melts every year. Agreements are worthless if they are just words for someone. Both environmental agreements, and those that do not relate to the environment," the President said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded that in 1994 Ukraine received security guarantees that were not fulfilled, and the planet received "two eco-bombs in the center of Europe": the occupied Crimea and part of Donbas.

"The Crimean peninsula with its unique flora and fauna has become a naval base of the Russian Federation. And in parts of Donbas there are flooding of mines, soil degradation, lack of drinking water. And all this takes place now. This is a common threat to the whole world. In our time, disaster, no matter where it happens, affects everyone," said the President.

According to him, this is proved by the Chornobyl tragedy, which affected everyone, not just Ukraine. But this catastrophe has also shown that human intervention is an effective mechanism for restoring the environment, as nature in Chornobyl is recovering faster than expected.

At the same time, the Head of State added that this does not mean that nothing should be done at all.

"We can give up. There will be floods and fires every week. We will be able to swim in the sea only in chemical protection suits. We will spend the rest of our lives in respirators. Clean drinking water will be available only on weekends. Products grown on non-toxic soil will be only for the New Year and special holidays. And the average life expectancy in the world will be 25-30 years. Perhaps this would be a fair punishment for us, for humanity. For those who have forgotten that this is our planet. And for those who forgot that this is not our planet - this is the planet of bears, tigers, pandas, koalas, whales, sharks," said the President.

He added that there are thousands of species of living beings on Earth who cannot hold a summit, give up plastic, reduce CO2 emissions and so on.

"We are the only ones who can change it. And it is not the symptoms that need to be treated, but the root cause. We must change not the principles of production and subsoil use, but global thinking, global behavior. Priorities of world politics and each state. We must measure not only financial, but first of all ecological growth. Not only the level of GDP or inflation, but above all the level of purity of air, water, land. We must perceive a territory not as a market for goods or services, but as a home for thousands of flora and fauna representatives. We must be proud not of new models of technology, not only of the fact that we create something, but also of the fact that we preserve something,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.

The President of Ukraine urged to implement the agreements that will be reached at the UN Climate Change Conference as soon as possible and to do that "quickly and without delay, jointly and without exceptions".