* Net Zero by 2050
* Coal phase-out by 2040
* Global cooperation vital on Climate Finance, Debt Relief and Sustainable Development
Sri Lanka is well on its way to achieving the targets outlined in its Climate Ambition Plan and reaching Net Zero by 2050, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
“Sri Lanka has not shirked its responsibility to the planet. Last year at COP27, we outlined our Climate Ambition Plan. By 2030, we will have 70 percent renewable energy in electricity generation, increase forest cover by 32 percent and reduce Greenhouse Emissions by 14.5 percent. We will phase out coal by 2040, and reach Net Zero by 2050,” President Wickremesinghe said.
“Our low-carbon development trajectory has given us one of the lowest per capita carbon emission rates for a Lower Middle Income Country,” the President said. President Wickremesinghe’s address reflected on the UNGA theme of “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Solidarity” and its relevance to Sri Lanka’s recent challenges.
“Cross-border financial impacts of crises such as Climate Change and the pandemic are impeding the ability of smaller indebted countries such as mine, to make progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate adaptation and mitigation. Conflicts and tensions among big powers are complicating the policy environment for the rest by adding uncertainty to economic and macro-financial stability, disrupting supply chains and causing inflation as well as food and energy insecurity,” the President told the UN delegates.
“Adverse climate outcomes are spilling over onto our tight fiscal space just as we begin to stabilise from last year’s economic crisis. As a climate vulnerable developing country in a debt crisis, the urgency to mobilise Climate Finance is greater today than it was ever before. However, despite the promises made, rich countries are not delivering to expectations.”
The President called on developed countries to do their part and fulfill what they agreed and assume their share of the common but differentiated responsibility, provide assistance for mitigation and adaptation and compensation for loss and damage.
National efforts alone will not suffice to ensure the success of the SDGs and reverse Climate Change, he said. “The need for global solidarity to restructure the international financial architecture is also paramount.
The Secretary General’s SDG stimulus highlights the interconnections between the achievements of the SDGs, combatting Climate Change and the concrete interventions required by creditors sovereign and private, as well as by International Financial Institutions to mitigate the debt crisis.”
“Therefore, if we are unable to restructure the global fiscal order, then certainly we will fail in the struggle to reverse Climate Change and achieve the SDGs,” the President said. However, he said that there is still time for course correction as the crisis has not reached its peak.
Referring to the Summit of the Future to be held in 2024 to discuss all these issues, the President said it should not be crafting new programs, but re-structure the present financial architecture to address Climate Change and SDGs.
“Unfortunately, the Security Council has failed to give priority to these connected issues of Climate Change, debt relief and Sustainable Development. This impacts the future of mankind. The survival of the planet must be our priority, we cannot afford to go into this war with a divided high command.
The future of all species on the globe is dependent on our ability to put aside our rivalries until this crisis is solved. This must be the priority of this General Assembly; we cannot afford to allow divisions to drive focus away from this crisis,” the President said.
The President said he intended to lead the country towards sustainable and stable recovery and growth which will benefit all segments of Sri Lankan society in all parts of the country, ensuring a future of peace, prosperity and reconciliation for the present and future generations of women and men. In reaching this goal, we will be accompanied by the support, trust, and solidarity of our own people and of the international community.