Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering called for a stronger international cooperation and solidarity to address challenges of climate change and Covid-19 at the Thimphu Ambition Summit: Momentum for a 1.5°C world on December 9.
Bhutan is the chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group.
At the virtual summit, Lyonchhen said that Bhutan would not be complacent in fulfilling its climate pledges. “We are also developing a National Adaptation Plan, enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and long-term low emission climate resilient development strategy that will ensure we remain carbon neutral for all times to come.”
He said that the pandemic posed many challenges but unlike the pandemic the impact of climate change was far more devastating and irreversible. “We must ensure the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in the coming decade through green recoveries.”
The summit, convened to build global political momentum on climate action, was chaired by the Secretary of National Environment Commission, Sonam P Wangdi.
He said that there was a need for faster, deeper emissions reduction to improve the capacity of vulnerable countries to adapt to climate impacts. “Increasing climate funding for climate actions in developing countries is critical.”
The national climate plans, he said, must be updated with more ambitious emissions reductions targets. “Climate plans should be aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit warming to 1.5°C and representative of each country’s fair share of the global effort.”
Participant countries presented their ambitious plans to address climate change, including enhanced NDCs.
According to studies, LDCs contribute the least to climate change but are vulnerable to climate change impacts. LDCs are home to over a billion people, some of the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that there was a need to scale up climate finance, technological and capacity-building support to the vulnerable countries to accelerate climate action, increase ambition and build resilience.
“Covid-19 recovery options with inclusive and green economic development pathways should also be prioritised,” Lyonpo said.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and incoming COP-26 president Alok Sharma, among others, joined the summit that was conducted ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 to be hosted by the UN, the UK, France, Chile, and Italy.
At the UN Climate Action Summit last year, Lyonchhen launched the LDC vision of climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Bhutan made the commitment to remain carbon neutral in 2009, which was reaffirmed ahead of COP-21 in 2015 with the submission of Bhutan’s NDCs.