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‘Time is running out to fix the world’

Christina Manning previews next week's UN Climate Summit in New York

AP

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Preparing for the worst:top: campaigners in Manila, the Philippines, last week. Their full banner reads "Lower the global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius

Credit: AP

Preparing for the worst:top: campaigners in Manila, the Philippines, last week. Their full banner reads "Lower the global temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius

THE secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has warned against foot-dragging over climate change. "The more we delay, the more we will pay," he said, in advance of the UN Climate Summit 2014, which is attracting world leaders and leading economists to New York next Tuesday.

The summit seeks to galvanise action on climate change, and build political momentum towards the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which meets in Paris at the end of next year. This is where world leaders will make a global climate agreement outlining action to reduce emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Once again, Mr Ban is asking for action, not just words. Preparing for the summit, he said: "Time is running out. . . Climate change is accelerating, and human activities are the principal cause. The effects are already widespread, costly, and consequential - to agriculture, water resources, human health, and ecosystems on land and in the oceans. Climate change poses sweeping risks for economic stability and the security of nations."

AP

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Preparing for the worst:the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon,with, seated, Felipe Calderón, who chairs the Global Commission onthe Economy and Climate

 

Credit: AP

Preparing for the worst:the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon,with, seated, Felipe Calderón, who chairs the Global Commission onthe Economy and Climate

 

He has called on all heads of government and businesses represented to share what they are already doing to tackle climate change, and to make pledges on the action that they will take in the future. "Leaders from government, business, finance, and civil society will present their vision, make bold announcements, and forge new partnerships that will support the transformative change the world needs," he said.

 

The UN has recently confirmed that representatives from 162 countries will attend the summit: 122 of these will be heads of government, including President Obama and David Cameron.

 

Civil-society organisations, both in the UK and worldwide, have been acting to raise awareness and accelerate local action since the summit was announced. Local-government and world leaders have been asked to attend the summit.

 

The People's Climate March has been arranged by a coalition of climate-focused and advocacy organisations. The central march is to take place in New York on Sunday, and worldwide marches are taking place in every region.

 

The director of the multi-faith initiative GreenFaith, the Revd Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest, has been a key player in mobilising faith communities across the United States to be represented at the march in New York.  The Anglican Alliance and other faith groups have been encouraging churches and communities to join the People's Climate March in their city.

 

Interfaith events are also taking place in the next week: a summit will bring together 30 faith leaders to sign a declaration on the importance of urgent action on climate change; and, at a conference taking place before the summit, faith communities will discuss climate action.

 

In a recent television interview, Mr Fletcher said: "God gave us this incredible gift; it is our job to take care of [creation].  We're not doing as good a job as we can, and we know how to do better.  And that's what it's about, that's what we're called to do."

 

Mr Fletcher is one of the speakers on the Anglican Alliance's global webinar (an internet summit), which takes place after the UN Climate Summit. Open to all, the online event will engage faith communities around the world in discussions about the outcomes from the summit, as well as what people can all do to take action.

 

The UN Climate Summit is expected to be a turning point before climate negotiations in Paris next year, and pivotal in building momentum on climate action worldwide.

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