The world has never been more serious about climate change. Later this week, world leaders will gather for the United Nations Climate Summit, but as early as Sunday, thousands and thousands of people from all over the world have expressed the urgency in addressing climate change as they marched on the streets.
From Rio de Janeiro to Colombia to London to Manhattan, and many others, demonstrations were staged all around the world with one common message, especially to policy makers: take climate change seriously, and do something about it.
Reports say that no less than 100,000 people marched along the streets of New York. Celebrities and political movers were present. Marchers present included Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly, former United States Vice President Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The world is hoping and anticipating good news from the climate summit. The summit aims to produce real, political will for a new climate treaty by the end of 2014. The climate summit will be well-publicized with over 120 of the world’s leaders attending, including United States President Barack Obama. Renowned actor Leonardo DiCaprio is also set to give a speech.
“I have invited leaders from government, business, finance and civil society to present their vision, make bold announcements and forge new partnerships that will support the transformative change the world needs,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wrote in a blog post on the summit for the Huffington Post.
For the next two years, country will prioritize the need to address climate change. Several gatherings have been plotted, aiming to reshape the world’s approach to climate change. These gatherings will be for future approaches to climate change (Paris in 2015), disaster risk reduction (Sendai in 2015), and humanitarian action (Istanbul in 2016).
Although the summit is going to be well-attended, it is also notable who will not be attending, specifically China and India’s leaders – Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is notable because these are the top two most populous countries in the world. When combined, the two countries they lead take up about a third of the world’s population. Most importantly, they rank first and third in the list of highest producers of carbon dioxide emissions (the United States is second).
At the recent World Humanitarian Summit regional consultation for East Asia, a survivor of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines stood at the podium.