High Level Summit on Climate Change at UN Headquarters

Published: September 23, 2009

 

On 22 September, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a high-level Summit on Climate Change, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. The summit brought together political leaders, including 100 Heads of State and Government. This was the biggest ever gathering of political leaders to discuss climate change.

Background:

  • This was one day summit held at UN headquarters New York.
  • It is not a negotiating session however its aim is to encourage world leaders to push their governments over outstanding issues which are posing a roadblock to the talks from advance further.
  • U.N. talks which involves 190 nations will take place in Copenhagen in December to shape up a deal on a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which exprires at the end of 2012.
  • Further climate negotiating sessions are scheduled to take place in Bangkok at the end of September and Barcelona in early November. The Copenhagen talks will begin on December 7, 2009

Ban Ki-moon

  • Addressing the assembled leaders, Mr. Ban said:
  • Failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen would be morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and politically unwise.
  • Now is the moment to act in common cause.
  • History may not offer us a better chance
  • Distinguished leaders of the world, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to seal a deal in Copenhagen in December this year — an equitable, scientifically robust deal that strengthens sustainable development and powers green growth for every country.

Hu-Jintao

  • Chinse President Hu Jintao promised to slow the growth of his country’s greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade, to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources, and to plant enough trees to cover more than 300,000 square kilometers.

Yugratna Srivastava

  • 13-year-old Indian girl from Lucknow, Yugratna Srivastava got the rare honour to address US President Barack Obama, President Hu Jintao of China and other world leaders on behalf of the world’s 3 billion youth and children.
  • She said-World leaders must recognise the energy and potential which lies in children and youth. This age group is just like flowing rivers and they make their own way in the direction in which they march.

Who is Yugratna?

  • Yugratna got associated with environmental protection in Grade 6 in St Francis School in Shamli, India.
  • It was there that she joined “Tarumitra” (Friends of Trees) which is an NGO working towards the felling of trees and forests.
  • Yugratna had earlier participated in the Tunza youth conference in Norway organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2008 and became a member of the Junior Board.
  • Tunza is the UNEP magazine for youth.

Rajendra Pachauri

  • Rajendra Pachauri is the chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • He represented the IPCC at the 2007 Nobel prize awards ceremony as UNPCC shared Nobel Peace prize in 2007 with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
  • He said that ” if poorer nations don’t receive help from their wealthier neighbors, at least a dozen of them would become “failed states.
  • He also said that poor countries would face the possibility of internal conflict because of soil degradation and a lack of food and clean water.

SM Krishna, External Affairs Minister

  • India was represented by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at the Summit.
  • India asked the developed countries to modify their ‘unsustainable lifestyles’ to significantly cut down carbon emissions by 2020 and to ensure that developing nations had enough resources to cope with climate change while pursuing accelerated development.
  • India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna called on developed countries to deliver on significant reduction in their emissions of at least 40 per cent by 2020 from the agreed 1990 baseline.

 

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