Climate change 'back on political agenda'
For the first time in history 125 heads of state will meet on Tuesday (23 September) in New York to discuss the global response to climate change.
The gathering, hosted by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, will influence a major summit in Paris next year where leaders nations will sign a new universal agreement on climate.
Photo of a Baptist climate justice campaigner, shared on Twitter
The conference was preceded by the largest mass mobilisation for the climate ever seen. An estimated 600,000 people took part in more than 2,000 around the world, with 310,000 people gathering in Manhattan, and an estimated 40,000 in London, four times the number expected.
Other UK marches took place in Manchester, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Stroud, and Dudley.
In New York, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Advisor, Mohamed Adow, has been granted special access as one of only 38 representatives from global civil society allowed to attend the plenary discussion with President Obama, David Cameron and the other leaders.
He described it 'the most significant meeting of world leaders ever brought together to discuss our response to the challenge of climate change'. More world leaders will be present than at the last major summit, in Copenhagen in 2009.
He said, 'This shows that climate change is back on the global political agenda and is the starting gun on negotiations ahead of the Paris summit next year where nations have promised to strike a deal address the problem of global warming.
'The impacts of climate change being felt across the world has changed the politics of the discussion, we now need our leaders to outline what their countries will do to move the world towards a safe and resilient future.'
Referring to the marches on Sunday he added, 'People around the world have demonstrated just how much this issue means to them by coming out onto the streets of their cities in the biggest ever mobilisation for the climate.
'It’s thrilling to see democracy in action. We’ve seen this week a huge turnout for the Scottish independence referendum and now we’re seeing a popular, grassroots movement for the climate coming to life around the world. Whoever said political engagement was dead?
'Our leaders need to take this opportunity and respond to the call of the public to back up their positive words with firm actions to bring the misery of climate change to an end.
'There is still time for us to change our course and put the world on a trajectory which will secure a safe and healthy future for us all. But we need to see political commitments this year. We cannot leave it until next year’s crunch meeting in Paris in December.
'The People’s Climate March shows that the time for action is now. This week world leaders have a chance to prove they can be trusted to do the right thing.'