UNDP Launches Campaign Highlighting Urgency of Taking Climate Action as World Leaders Meet in Glasgow for COP26

November 8, 2021

November 5th - Beijing - To emphasize the urgency of the climate crisis facing the world and the importance of taking immediate action, UNDP has produced an engaging short film as part of a new campaign in which one of the world’s most well-known extinct animals, the dinosaur, gives a speech to the UN General Assembly with a clear message: “Don’t Choose Extinction.”

Led by a cast of celebrity voices from around the world, the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign aims to raise public awareness of critical issues surrounding climate change and the disastrous consequences of the planet exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming.

In China the dinosaur is voiced by Chinese celebrities including Zhu Yawen, Luo Yunxi, and Mao Xiaotong. They join global stars like Jack Black, Eva Mendes, Stephen Fry and more, in a global effort to speak out against the use of fossil fuels.

In particular, the campaign spotlights the hugely negative effects fossil fuel subsidies have on people and planet. "The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed outdated aspects of the global economy. It includes the fact that the world continues to spend billions of dollars on fossil fuel subsidies, while hundreds of millions of people live in poverty and the climate crisis accelerates. Against this backdrop, we must ask ourselves: is subsidizing fossil fuels a rational use of public money?" said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. 

Fossil fuel subsidies are both inefficient and inequitable. Across developing countries, about half of the amount of public resources spent to support fossil fuel consumption benefits the richest 20 percent of the population, according to the IMF.

In addition to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, it will also be critical for countries to take urgent action to peak carbon emissions and set targets for reaching net-zero emissions. In China, the Government has committed to carbon peaking before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

“China’s climate targets have been a critical step and a welcome commitment in the global fight against climate change,” said Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative in China. “As with all countries, it will be key to peak emissions as early as possible, as recommended by climate experts, in order to keep the target of 1.5 degrees within reach.”

China has also recently released its 1+N strategy which offers a concrete roadmap for the country to achieve its climate goals and puts forward emissions targets for key sectors including steel, energy, and transport. “Building on the more detailed plans of the 1+N strategy, China has the opportunity to accelerate further progress towards carbon peaking and neutrality and UNDP stands ready to help in this transition,” said Trankmann.

Globally, the energy sector accounts for 73 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, making the transition to clean and renewable energy of paramount importance. China’s current energy mix is still fossil-fuel based, but this is changing. China currently accounts for nearly a third of global renewable energy installed capacity[1] and aims to reach 50% of non-fossil energy share in its power generation by 2030.

“Reform is not easy and the transition to clean energy presents a range of difficult challenges in many countries,” added Achim Steiner. “Indeed, each country needs to take their own path. But we also know that we must move away from these energy sources that are contributing to our planet’s decline. The recent IPCC report, which the UN Secretary-General described as a ‘code red’ for humanity, shows that only the most ambitious climate action will limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. This is what science dictates is needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

The Don’t Choose Extinction campaign features a collective intelligence platform, the Global Mindpool, to help tackle the most important issues of our time. Linking insights from around the world - on the climate emergency, the crisis in nature and inequality – the Global Mindpool will support UNDP to better inform and equip policy makers in government, civil society, and the private sector.

For more information on the ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’ campaign, visit www.dontchooseextinction.com

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[1] IRENA, 2021 https://www.irena.org/publications/2021/Aug/Renewable-energy-statistics-2021