THE secretary-general of the UN, 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
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."
He has called on all heads of government and businesses
represented to share what they are already doing to tackle climate
change, and to give pledges on the action that they will take in
The UN has recently confirmed that representatives from 162
countries will attend the summit: 122 of these will be heads of
government, among them Barack Obama and David Cameron.
Civil-society organisations in the UK and worldwide have been
acting to raise awareness and accelerate practical action since the
summit was announced. 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 marches
are taking place in each region of the world.
The director of the multifaith initiative GreenFaith, the Revd
Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest, has been an instrumental
player in mobilising faith communities across the United States to
be represented at the New York march. The Anglican Alliance
and other faith groups have been encouraging churches and
communities to join marches in their city.
Interfaith events are also taking place in the next week: 30
faith leaders plan to sign a declaration arguing the urgency of
action on climate change; and there will be a pre-summit faiths
In a recent television interview, Mr Harper spoke of creation:
"God gave us this incredible gift; it is our job to take care of
it. 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
Mr Harper is one of the speakers at the Anglican Alliance's
global webinar, an internet summit that takes place after the UN
meeting. The online event will attempt to engage faith communities
around the world in discussions about the outcomes from the summit,
as well as what action people can take.
The hope is that the UN summit will be a game-changer before the
climate negotiations in Paris next year, helping to build momentum
on worldwide action.
Question of the week: Will world leaders make the changes
needed to combat climate change?