Ladies and gentlemen
We have received new guidance from science and the evidence is stronger. Our combined Paris pledges will not suffice to keep global warming within safe limits. We need to upgrade.
Iceland announced last year an upgrade of our ambition level, from 40 to 55 percent emissions cuts to 2030. We will achieve this goal in cooperation with the EU and Norway.
Earlier this year the Icelandic Parliament made our previously announced goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 legally binding, one of few countries that have taken this step. We are working on a roadmap to carbon neutrality; a big step on that journey is our newly-released Long-Term Low Emission Strategy, in line with the Paris Agreement. Iceland has set a goal of quitting fossil fuel use by 2050. Last September, we published our first adaptation strategy.
The parties who are now forming a new government in Iceland are currently discussing ways to strengthen our 2030 target while ensuring a just transition towards a greener economy. In climate mitigation, we believe we are on the right track, but we want to do better still. As part of its renewed NDC, Iceland has increased its year-on-year funding for climate-related development programs and projects significantly and continues to do so.
In Iceland, we have some good stories to tell: 100% renewable energy for heating and electricity; second in the world in the share of clean cars in total sales. But we need to do more.
We need clean energy transition to extend to ships and airplanes.
We must do better in nature-based solutions. We have doubled our efforts in the last three years or so. And still, we need to do more – a lot more.
We must look for negative emissions and new technology. Just two months ago, the world‘s first direct air capture and storage plant opened in Iceland. The CO2 is being pumped into the basalt ground where it is petrified. We hope this is a small first step towards something bigger.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Your time is the time of the people you know and love, the time that molds you. And your time is also the time of the people you will know and love. The time that you will shape. Everything you do matters. You create the future every single day.
These are the words of an Icelandic author, Magnason. And his words are true: The time to create the future is now, today.
Young people are pressing for actions; we must heed their call. I also want to underscore the importance of gender equality in our discourse. We must involve women and girls in all aspects of climate action and decisions – we need the energy and ingenuity of all of humankind.
The signs of climate disruption are ominous, we see emergencies around the world that are a direct consequence of the climate crisis. In Iceland we see our glaciers receding. We worry about the change of chemistry and circulation in our oceans in ways that could disrupt the entire marine ecosystem.
But there are also signs of progress, that give ground for hope and optimism. The promise of the Paris Agreement is alive and well. I sense great ambition and will here in Glasgow. There is demanding work ahead, but it can be good work as well. Green transition can and must be the growth story of the 21st Century, and save the day – and the planet.