President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday joined other Heads of State and Government and leaders from business and civil society to announce new commitments and practical actions to address climate change at a Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The summit started with a montage of film in which young girls and boys were asking world leaders why they are not acting and speaking with one voice in trying to address issues of climate change. World leaders then responded, urging each other to rise up to the challenge.
The one-day Summit marks the first time in five years that world leaders are getting together to chart a bold, new course of action on climate change.
In his opening speech, the secretary-general asked leaders to announce significant and substantial initiatives to help move the world toward a path that will limit global warming.
He said this is the time to accelerate political momentum and catalyze ambitious action on the ground, adding the world needs to see what countries are already doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Ban said the world needs a clear vision with solutions on climate change being found urgently.
“I’m asking you to lead,” he told the world leaders in attendance, adding they need to step up their game and make sure the next generations will not blame them for destroying the world.
He stressed that climate change is the biggest threat to humanity right now, requiring urgent attention from everyone, including financial institutions, civic society and communities working with their leaders.
In addition to governments, leaders from the private sector, including business and finance, will also announce significant new commitments.
“The race is on, and now is the time for leaders to step up and steer the world towards a safer future,” said Mr. Ban
According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world is presently on a path that would well exceed the two degree Celsius (3.60F) rise in temperature limit that countries have set to ensure that the world would not suffer the worst impacts of climate change.
The report also presented many scenarios and pathways to a more secure future. Through action in critical areas, such as energy, agriculture, cities, forests, and by building resilience - with proper financing - countries and communities can still build healthy economies while reducing carbon emissions.
The mayor of New York also commended the world leaders for coming together to discuss climate change saying the city was woken up by Hurricane Sandy that left thousands homeless.
Former US Vice President Al Gore, who is also attending the Summit, told delegates that what is needed right now for action is political will.
Leonardo Decaprio, an actor who recently was honored as the UN’s peace ambassador also called for speedy action from world leaders on climate change
The Summit will also see the launch of new initiatives that address key action areas by coalitions of governments, businesses and civil society organizations. Some sessions are focusing on critical aspects of climate change, including science, people living on the frontlines of climate change, the societal benefits of action, and the economic case for action on climate change.