The Climate Summit convened by Ban Ki Moon on September 23rd in New York will be the first time that a significant group of world leaders have come together to discuss responses to climate change since the Copenhagen conference in 2009.
The latest estimate suggests that there will be more world leaders attending the New York Climate Summit – 125 in total - than the number of leaders that attended the Copenhagen climate talks. That is an important signal at this key moment in the run-up to Paris.
The challenge of new development pathways in a climate constrained world is a vital part of the debate. And what is becoming clear is that a growing reliance on fossil fuels poses a significant threat to our economies. Not only does it increase climate risk, it also saddles hard-working populations with the burden of ever increasing energy bills and a reliance on imports, rather than establishing a clean and secure energy system that can power our economy.
The tone and substance of the actions and policies announced in New York will give a clearer picture of how the political will and ambition to tackle climate change is building.
Representatives from business and civil society will also come to New York. Climate Week 2014 will bring them together to discuss the much needed solutions to address the challenge of climate change. In fact, 340 institutional investors are calling for a climate agreement that can send a strong signal that the clean economy is here to stay.
New York matters especially because of the citizens that are coming to the streets on Sunday. In the midst of this global push, civil society organizations from many countries are holding the People’s Climate March. The event hopes to bring together thousands of people to the streets of NYC, some say 250,000.Thousands of others will march in cities around the world. What makes this march historical is the aim to move climate change beyond an environmental agenda. Many non-environmental groups are joining because we need to show that climate change affects everyone. Frontline communities, families, students, labor groups, indigenous peoples and many others will participate in the largest climate march in history.
Nivela will be in New York City covering the U.N. Summit, Climate Week and marching with other citizens on Sunday. We see it as the ideal opportunity to engage citizens around issues that matter deeply to all of us. Politicians and the fossil fuel industry will not change their behavior unless citizens demand change. The People’s Climate march will bring citizens together to shape the future of our countries and influence the decisions of policy makers.
Changing our approach to climate issues will influence our governments. They will get a stronger sense of our expectations and the urgency of a clean shift. People are demanding action, not just words.
We look forward to the events in New York next week and hope they will mark a watershed for a cleaner and more democratic future.