The UN Summit on Climate Change

, by Angelique Grech

The UN Summit on Climate Change

On 22nd September 2009 most of the world’s leaders met in New York in acceptance of the invitation sent by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He remarked that “The objective of the Summit on Climate Change, which I am convening on 22 September, is to mobilize the political will and vision needed to reach an ambitious agreed outcome based on science at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen.” Hence, the aim of this summit was to see the determination with which the world’s leaders are ready to address the challenges provoked by climate change, and it was also conducted in order to enhance and make easier the chances of agreement in Copenhagen in December.

The summit brought out the fact, that, leaders are worried about the consequences that surfaced because of climate change. In fact most of them supported and felt an urgent need to take immediate measures and to raise the financial resources needed in order to reduce the effects of climate change. The Summit made it clear that an agreement is essential in order to ensure: “1. Enhanced action to assist the most vulnerable and the poorest to adapt to the impacts of climate change; 2. Ambitious emission reduction targets for industrialized countries; 3. Nationally-appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries with the necessary support; 4. Significantly scaled-up financial and technological resources; and 5. An equitable governance structure.” [1]

Environmentalists reserved great hopes on the UN Summit, but they found nothing that they could deem as sufficient.

The summit in itself was a historic event as it housed some 100 heads of state and government, the largest number of members ever present to discuss the effects of global warming. Also the summit was important because it was the first UN visit for the American and the Chinese president, as well as the new Prime minister of Japan. Many of these leaders recounted how their countries are being affected through climate change. The President of the Maldives; Mohammed Nasheed worriedly states that “If things go as usual, we will not live. We will die," especially with the severe floods his country is prone on encountering. Barack Obama has also acknowledged that climate change is a serious danger for the world, hence he encouraged the world to act “boldly, swiftly and together” in order to advert an “irreversible catastrophe”. [2]

Although the speeches of the leaders sound quite promising, many environmentalists are becoming more skeptical. They reserved great hopes on the UN Summit, but they found nothing that they could deem as sufficient. In America, the president seems to be keen on safeguarding the environment; however, all came to a halt as the administration is more preoccupied on health care issues. Also, in the summit itself Mr. Obama did not promise anything concrete, he just stated that America would start measuring its greenhouse-gas emissions more accurately in order to decrease the amount of gases in the athmosphere.

The UN summit only served as a preamble to the the meeting in Copehagen in December. This summit showed that India, China, Brazil and other developing countries are willing to take measures to safeguard the world climate. Promises of less dangerous emissions were implied by the the Eurpeans and the Japanese new government. While America, one of the biggest polluters in the world, is finally prepared to reduce some of its own emmissions. However, these are just promises. December is getting closer and we still have a long way to go when it comes to safeguarding our climate.

Image:
- UN Summit on Climate Change, source google images

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