The climate crisis is taking centre stage during this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City, with national leaders “feeling a sense of urgency to keep up the momentum on combating climate change,” the Associated Press reports.
“In between discussing how to tackle wars, poverty, and deadly diseases around the world, leaders will be devoting substantial time in New York this week to the question of global warming and how to rein it in,” writes wire reporter Frank Jordans, in a preview of the week’s deliberations. “There’ll be talk of emissions targets and the need to adapt to the inevitable changes already under way when small island states take the floor at the annual gathering. Ministers from major economies, meanwhile, will be meeting behind closed doors to discuss who will pay to help poor countries avoid the worst effects of global warming—and prevent a wave of climate refugees in future.”
“Its speed has provoked a sonic boom SOS across the world,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in his opening remarks.
The UN website has a summary of the first day of debate.
While the UN meets, New York Climate Week will be in full swing, and the second edition of French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit was to convene today.
The AP report points forward to this year’s UN climate conference, convening in less than three months, as a must-do moment to advance international climate action.
“By December, leaders need to agree on what’s known as the Paris rulebook, which sets out how countries will track their climate efforts in a way that is transparent, fair, and meaningful,” the news agency notes, citing German environment minister Svenja Schulze. “Failure to reach an agreement by the time the annual climate meeting is held in Katowice, Poland would mark a major setback for the 180 countries that have ratified the Paris accord.”