THE UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, spoke of a "bold new
course of action on climate change" when he convened the first
climate summit of world leaders for five years, in New York on
Mr Ban called on world leaders to make new proposals that would
lead to a meaningful climate agreement at their meeting in Paris
next year, and asked them to work together for a fossil-fuel-free
"Today's climate summit has shown an entirely new, cooperative,
global approach to climate change," he said. "The actions announced
today by governments, businesses, finance, and civil society show
that many partners are eager to confront the challenges of climate
Four hundred thousand people marched through New York in the
People's Climate March on Sunday. More than 2000 satellite events
were held around the world.
The Anglican Alliance Facilitator for Latin America and the
Caribbean, Paulo Ueti, who was at the New York march, said: "The
march expressed our commitment to the fact that we are a part of
the earth and only in working together can we survive. The struggle
to face climate change is driven by our shared faith that injust
acts have put us in this situation, and we must fight this
injustice. We only can do that together. Our voices and our march
will be listened to and must continue. A luta continua
sempre - the struggle always goes on."
In recognition of the voices of global citizens calling for
action in the build-up to the summit, President Obama said: "The
alarm-bells keep ringing; our citizens keeping marching. We cannot
pretend we don't hear them: we must answer their call."
President Obama recognised the responsibility of the top
carbon-emitting countries to take the lead. He called for an
ambitious, inclusive, and flexible agreement: "No nation can meet
this global threat alone. We can only succeed if we are joined in
this effort by every nation. Nobody gets a pass. Nobody can stand
on the sidelines on this issue. We have to raise our collective
Some 120 heads of government attended the summit, each outlining
in a short speech their commitments to tackling climate change and
their proposals towards the Paris agreement next year.
Samoa, Tuvalu, Costa Rica, and Denmark, and other countries
joined Mr Ban and the actor Leonardo DiCaprio in emphasising a need
to speed up the switch from using fossil fuels to 100-per-cent
renewable energy. Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia, and
Iceland and others pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2050.
Some of the strongest commitments came from Small Island
Developing States (SIDS), whose representatives spoke of the ways
in which extreme weather and the economic costs of climate change
were making an impact on them now. The Prime Minister of Samoa,
Tuilaepa Malielegaoli, said: "Even if the impacts of our
contributions are negligible, we are committed to action."
The Anglican Alliance is supporting the voices of Pacific
Islanders, and asking the worldwide Church to sign a petition
calling on the Australian government to put climate change on the
agenda when the G20 meet in Brisbane later this year (the petition
can be seen at http://anglicanalliance.org/Advocacy/oceans-of-justice).
David Cameron reiterated the UK's commitments to renewable
energy. He said: "We are on track to cut emissions by 80 per cent
by 2050." He continued: "We must provide support to those who need
it, particularly the poor and most vulnerable."
Leaders called for urgent and significant actions on climate
change, including mobilising finance for campaigning, increasing
the use of renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, reducing
deforestation, promoting climate-smart agriculture, building
resilience, reducing pollutants, and promoting climate action in
the world's cities.
Commitments from significant stakeholders in finance, forestry,
industry, agriculture, transport, energy, and cities formed the
afternoon sessions. The afternoon ended with more than $1 billion
in new pledges to the Green Climate Fund.
The summit acknowledged that world leaders could no longer
silence voices from around the world calling for justice and
equality, and for support for those hardest hit by climate
As commitments were made in New York, there was a momentum of
action to address climate change elsewhere. The Church of Sweden
became the latest national Church to eliminate fossil fuels from
its investment portfolio. One of the first institutions to take up
disinvestment, the Church of Sweden now believes that investments
in fossil fuel companies are a financial risk, and that investing
in renewable energies is economically beneficial.
The Church of England joined the world's leading institutional
investors on 18 September in calling for carbon pricing and an
ambitious global-climate deal. The Church asked governments to
provide meaningful carbon pricing to help them to invest to meet
the climate-change challenge, and asked them to develop plans to
phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.
The leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal
Church in the US, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada also released a pastoral
message on climate change. It said: "We are united as Christian
leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of
God's good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God's
"We also have the resources and responsibility to act together
for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the
effect of climate change. We encourage you to take the initiative
to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of
public life - in government and business, in schools and civic
organizations, in social media and also in our church life. We are
not powerless to act and we are not alone."
On Wednesday, a global webinar run by the Anglican Alliance will
bring these high-level commitments to local communities, and
facilitate a discussion on climate change and climate justice with
church groups and young people around the world. More news will be
available at anglicanalliance.org.
The People's Climate March drew crowds in cities worldwide with
the message "To Change Everything, We Need Everyone". As heads of
governments meet in New York to make their pledges towards a strong
climate agreement in Paris 2015, global citizens are working
together to take the lead, showing through action that a
sustainable future is possible.
Christina Manning is the communications manager of the
Obstacles to action are
vanishing - The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard
Church of Sweden disinvests
from fossil fuels