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G20 Rome Summit, PM Draghi's address at the working session "Climate Change and Environment”

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Dear colleagues, 

The climate crisis is the defining issue of our times. 
It jeopardizes our livelihood, threatens our prosperity, puts our future at risk.
As glaciers melt, sea levels rise and extreme weather events occur ever more frequently, we face a simple choice. 
We can act now or regret it later. 

With the Paris Agreement, we pledged to tackle global warming collectively.
But the steps we have taken since have proven insufficient.
Scientists tell us that under current policies, the consequences of climate change for the environment and the world’s population will be catastrophic.
The cost of action – however high it may seem – is trivial compared to the price of inaction.

Yesterday, I noted that the most pressing global issues demand a multilateral response.
The fight against climate change involves, quite literally, the whole world.
We stand united – in success and in failure.
And as G20, we have a responsibility to show leadership and guide the world towards a more sustainable future.

Around this room, we have different views over how soon we must start to act and how fast we must change course. 
Emerging economies resent how much rich countries have polluted in the past and demand financial help to support them in this transition.
They also wonder whether any commitments we’ll take are indeed credible, given our past failings.
We must listen to these concerns and we must act on them, but we cannot sacrifice our collective ambition.

We need to set long-term goals that are consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and make short-term changes to achieve them.
We must accelerate the phasing out of coal and invest more in renewable energy.
We also need to make sure that we use available resources wisely, which means that we should become able to adapt our technologies and also our lifestyles to this new world. 
And as we move towards these goals, we must help countries around the world deal with and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The decisions we make today will have a direct impact on the success of the Glasgow Summit and, ultimately, on our ability to tackle the climate crisis. 
But the COP26 must signal the start of a permanent campaign. 
Every year, we should ask ourselves if we have done enough to change course.
And if future generations will look back at us with gratitude or resentment.