The president addressed the UN Climate Summit

The president addressed the UN Climate Summit

President Zuzana Čaputová spoke at the opening of the UN Climate Summit in New York. Amongst other things, she noted that we are living in the best times in our history, enjoying the benefits of progress, but we have forgotten to pay the debt that we owe to our planet. Today’s generation is the first to feel the consequences of such “inconsiderate action”. In the president’s view, we need a sharp and rapid change of policy on business, power generation, transport, investment, biodiversity protection and the treatment of natural resources. We have to change our way of life. 

In New York the president recalled specific measures: reducing emissions, the transformation of the coal mines in the Upper Nitra region, Slovakia's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 – so far as the only country in the region so far, and our interest in continuing investment in meeting our goals or joining the initiative of the Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen.

Slovakia needs to adopt strategic documents determining how to implement our climate plans in practice – the low carbon strategy of the Slovak Republic and a high-quality National Energy and Climate Plan of the Slovak Republic. It must be borne in mind that all these transformation steps will have social and economic consequences.

Dear Mr Secretary General, 

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

we are living in the best time in our history, enjoying enormous progress, but we have forgotten to pay our bills. We have a debt to this planet. We are the first generation to feel the reach of our inconsiderate actions. We might be the last that can do anything about it.

If I had to name the thing that I find most disturbing, it is the denial. Denying the existence of the climate crisis or claiming that it is not really so serious. Living in denial while trying to tackle the climate crisis can only lead to our failure.

We have to come together as one world to define new rules and methods for enforcing them. We need a sharp and rapid change in the way we do business, generate electricity, transport people and goods, invest, protect biodiversity and manage natural resources.  We have to change our way of life.

Let me mention some specific details. In Slovakia, we have taken the politically unimaginable decision to close down our coal mines. This will require a fundamental transformation of part of our country. It will be necessary to find people new jobs, open up new businesses and create new opportunities.

We already produce 80 percent of our energy from low-carbon sources. We are aiming to intensify emissions reductions from 40 to 45 percent by 2030. We are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Just a few days ago, we decided to set aside EUR 2.5 billion for climate investments to 2030.  On the international level, we are contributing to the Green Climate Fund. We support the European Union’s plan to make Europe the first carbon-neutral continent. In addition, we have also joined the climate initiative of President Van der Bellen of Austria. [No matter how big or small we are, we can all start contributing without waiting for others to start].

We must ensure that the fight against climate change ultimately benefits everyone. We will only be successful if we increase the welfare and dignity of all people, especially the most vulnerable.

Finally, let me say that I believe that if we can move forward together on the climate issue, our sense of solidarity and common purpose will be rekindled.  It can help us to revive the international system, bridge our differences and create new opportunities offered by peace and development.

Because protecting our environment means being human.