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Yet the news is not all grim - science also tells us that a zero-carbon society is possible – a society of new green jobs and growth that can limit warming to 1.5°C. The European Union has already shown that it is feasible to decouple growth from CO2 emissions (since 1990, our GDP has grown by over 60% while net greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by a quarter). In July we released our legislative package to implement the European Green Deal and deliver a 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 on the path to climate neutrality by 2050. This transition of how we generate and use energy, move around, build and heat houses and use the land, is designed in the fairest way possible, ensuring no one is left behind. Otherwise, it won’t work.

But obviously, the EU cannot manage alone as we only emit 8% of global CO2 emissions. We have to inspire others - even the most reluctant partners - to join the path to climate neutrality. When the EU committed to climate neutrality by 2050 two years ago, few believed Japan, USA, South Korea and even China would follow. When we launched the EU Green Deal, few imagined the EU would borrow for a green recovery to finance the most ambitious climate neutrality plan in the world. We set up the first Green Alliance for climate neutrality, starting with Japan on 27 May, and we pushed for the G7 to commit to climate neutrality in June. Now we are pushing the G20 to follow suit. And we will never stop pushing for progress.

We invite all partners to strengthen their climate mitigation and adaptation plans. We are ready to offer technical and financial support, and are walking the talk with our own Climate law, 2030 package and Adaptation Strategy. We are among the world’s biggest providers of climate finance, releasing EUR 22 billion (USD 26 billion) in 2019 representing more than a third of the total effort by developed countries

And we are committed to scaling up this amount further in the years to come, as can for instance be seen by European Commission President Von der Leyen’s recent announcement of an overall 4 billion top-up under the EU’s core budget over the 2021-2027 period.

But we need others to do more also to meet the commitment by developed countries to provide USD 100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries. Mobilising more private finance will also be important in this regard.

The EU has fought hard to keep the Paris Agreement alive. After the negotiating, the time for climate action is here. Each State must increase its ambition to cut global emissions, but the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change just released a disheartening report. Under current commitment, global temperature would rise by an unacceptable 2.7°C by 2100 – a gloomy outlook to say the least.

Bangladesh is a natural and authoritative leader on climate change in the global community. Not only because the country is on the frontline of the threats posed by climate change, but also because it is a believer in multilateral solutions to global problems and because it has a wealth of homegrown expertise in this field

A lack of ambition means a climate tax will be levied by climate change itself, a tax that is bad for everyone, paid for with destruction, and without any upside for society. This is why we have proposed a flexible carbon border adjustment mechanism to use only if partners are not ambitious enough on climate action. Putting a price on carbon is essential, one way or another. It is a proven way to the price signal that triggers change. We want to lead by example and engage with partners, but we are prepared to take more action, if necessary.

If we close the gaps in financing and ambition, if all countries commit to doing more, then we can still keep the climate crisis under control. Based on science, realists today know the cost of inaction is immeasurable. It’s a fantasy to believe we could afford not to act.

Bangladesh is a natural and authoritative leader on climate change in the global community. Not only because the country is on the frontline of the threats posed by climate change, but also because it is a believer in multilateral solutions to global problems and because it has a wealth of homegrown expertise in this field. The leadership of the Hon. Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina in the Climate Vulnerable Forum is one example of this global engagement. The EU and Bangladesh are natural allies on this most pressing of international issues - we will do our utmost to make COP 26 a success for everyone.

Charles Whiteley, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

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