In efforts to prevent meltdown, more world leaders than ever — 120 — are involved in the latest conference on climate change. At the United Nations headquarters in New York, they’re aiming for firm treaty commitments — to be decided in Paris at the end of next year.
Foreign ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies debated strategy before the summit.
On Sunday, the People’s Climate March in New York was one of more than 2,000 demonstrations around the world — organisers estimated more than 300,000 people in Manhattan alone. UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon was with them.
We asked him for his most concise message to summit chiefs.
Ban said: “Take action now. If we do not do now we will have to pay more. We must leave planet Earth sustainable, socially and economically. This is our world and this our succeeding generations’ world. We will have a moral and political responsibility.”
US President Barack Obama is expected to underscore the need to remedy the flop of the Copenhagen summit five years ago. It achieved a minimal goal target, to limit average global temperature rise to two percent more than pre-industrial era levels, to preserve life on Earth. The latest figures suggest that even that goal will be difficult to attain.
The Global Carbon Project reports a 2.5 percent rise in climate-warming gases this year, which is a record 37 billion tonnes of gas, globally. Industrial growth in China is among the greatest causes for alarm.
The report says that if that trend continued, within just three decades humanity would produce carbon emissions that are all but guaranteed to push the global temperature rise beyond the tipping point.
Our correspondent Isabelle Kumar said: “In what could be a worrying sign of things to come, leaders of three out of the four most polluting nations China, India and Russia will not be attending the climate summit.”