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United Nations General Assembly 76th Session - High Level meeting on Delivering Climate Action

Statement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson,

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation

General Assembly 76th session, 26 October 2021

High-level meeting on Delivering Climate Action



President of the UN General Assembly, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome this opportunity to highlight Iceland´s firm commitment to enhanced and ambitious climate action - especially now, with COP26 just around the corner and the exceedingly dire outlook presented to us by the IPCC.

The need for enhanced action is clear, with the Paris Agreement setting the targets we so urgently need to achieve.

For our part, Iceland’s ambition is to go beyond the Paris commitments.

As reflected in our enhanced NDC, this includes complete carbon neutrality no later than 2040, reducing our net emissions, jointly with the EU and Norway, by at least 55% by 2030, and significantly increasing our contribution to climate-related development cooperation.

Our national goals will be reached by cutting emissions in all sectors, and by increasing carbon removals from the atmosphere, including by restoration of native ecosystems, revegetation, afforestation, and carbon capture, utilization, and mineralization in rock formations.

A transition to green energy is essential to halt climate change. It can also contribute to the achievement of other SDGs, including those on gender equality, food systems, and sustainable consumption and production.

Iceland has long championed the energy transition. All our electricity is renewable and carbon free, and 85% of our total energy budget is from green energy. With the ongoing energy transition in transport, Iceland aims to increase the share of renewable energy in land transport to 40% by 2030 and to be fossil fuel free by 2050.

Mr. President,

Scaling up adaptation and strengthening resilience is of course of crucial importance.

As an Arctic nation we are witnessing drastic changes in our region and recently saw the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change.

As a fishing nation we also know first-hand the impact of climate change on migration pattern of pelagic fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic. Similar changes have been witnessed in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean with negative implications for food security and the livelihood of fishing communities.

As a part of our renewed NDC, Iceland is providing new and additional financing for international climate action, aiming for a 45% increase this year.  Iceland plans to continue increasing its overall international climate funding in the coming years.

In closing, Mr. President, it is clear that we have no time to lose: the climate crisis needs to be addressed head on.

Let me stress again Iceland´s firm commitment to this critical agenda – we look forward to a productive and meaningful COP26 in Glasgow.


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