It began last Sunday with 400,000 people strong marching in Manhattan for new policies and ambitious use of technology to combat climate change. The National Geographic today summarized the strengths and progress of the UN meeting on Tuesday.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon marched on Sunday in the streets and opened the summit on Tuesday with the presence of more than a hundred heads of state and over 800 business leaders for the purpose of adopting policies to counter climate change effects. This comes as a call to action to prepare for the Paris meeting of the UN Framework for Climate Change in 15 months.
The UN climate summit newsroom released the following statement form Ban: “The purpose of the 2014 Climate Summit was to raise political momentum for a meaningful universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015 and to galvanize transformative action in all countries to reduce emissions and build resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change.”
On the side of advancement, companies for the meeting did commit to stopping deforestation. The trees store carbon dioxide which is a problem when trees are felled and become a major contributor of heat-trapping gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The companies who made a promise at the summit were Asia Pulp and Paper, Kellogg’s, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, and Proctor & Gamble. Thirty-two countries pledged to stop deforestation by 2030.
The vision of the summit was bold in asking leaders to commit to bold action. Reduction in carbon emissions was the first agreement in vision. In order to promote climate action efforts, the need to eradicate extreme poverty and promote sustainable development is a necessity. The need to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) from pre-industrial levels was agreed as the goal to reach.
Action is needed and made up of government, business, finance, multi-national banks and civil society leaders to provide $200 billion for financing for low-carbon and climate-resilient development. A $100 billion dollar a year goal by 2020 was affirmed from countries joining public and private finance. The Green Climate Fund was capitalized with a start of 2.3 billion from Germany, France and South Korea.
Thirty- two countries committed to pricing carbon emissions with the US and China taking the lead. Both countries recognize that their responsibility is tantamount as major producers of carbon emissions in the world.
Ban stated that in preparation for Lima later this year and Paris in 15 months, this summit was a good start at “putting our house in order.” In the upcoming 15 months there’s a lot riding on the Green Climate Fund. Island nations are vulnerable to sea-level rise and African nations face drought. These countries depend on the rich nations to live up to their promises.