Obama confirms attendance at UN Climate Summit, China leadership expected
- 25 July 2014
NEW YORK: US President Barack Obama is confirmed to attend the UN Climate Summit which takes place during Climate Week NYC this September, with China President Xi Jinping expected to be present.
The two leaders of the world’s biggest economic powers top a lengthy list of influential attendees of the UN Climate Summit, which is hosted by General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
Yesterday the White House confirmed Obama's presence in a statement to US newspaper the National Journal, and UNFCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres affirmed both China and US leaders will be there, according to RTCC newswire.
UN Climate Summit takes place on September 23, just a year before the global climate talks begin in Paris. It is hoped the Summit will bring world leaders together to push the critical climate dialogue back to the top of the world's agenda, in time to make real progress toward a global climate deal next year. The presence of US and China is expected to spur action at the Summit and encourage other nations to attend.
US-China climate action
Both China and the US have been increasingly active and public about their climate mitigation efforts over the past year, which is crucial given they are the two biggest carbon emitters in the world. A recent key move from the Obama Administration as part of its ambitious Climate Action Plan, is new regulations limiting carbon emissions from US power plants, which currently account for about 40% of America's total carbon emissions.
Similarly, China’s eight emissions trading schemes are considered to be a first step toward a national carbon market, and earlier this year Premier Li Keqiang also famously declared a “war against pollution”.
This month the super powers also joined forces on climate action, announcing a series of pacts to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of Paris 2015. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, who played a leading role in the negotiations over the joint agreements, said: “The significance of these two nations coming together can’t be understated. We are working hard to find a solution together that can have an impact on the rest of the world.”
Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, also commented on the climate pacts’ positive signal for the global low carbon economy: "China and US continue their collaboration to decarbonize their economies. With the new pacts signed by both sides at the just concluded bilateral strategic and economic dialogue, it is expected that the word's two largest economies are better positioned to lead a global clean revolution."
Progress toward Paris
US and China's commitment to attend the Summit follows last Friday's emotive open letter to world leaders from legendary campaigners Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel, Bono, Muhammed Yunus and Mo Ibrahim, which demanded urgent efforts to secure a global climate deal at Paris next year.
Further supporting sustained political ambition from all nations in order to secure a deal in 2015, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “The UNFCCC 2015 Conference of the Parties has enormous potential to deliver a charter for cohesive and collaborative action on climate change, but it is contingent on the political will of government leaders. Without precedent at the domestic level, the scope of a bold global deal is dramatically reduced.”
The UN Climate Summit is seen as a key stepping stone toward Paris, and takes place during Climate Week NYC 2014, which is the collaborative space for all related events in support of the Summit.
Climate Week NYC
From September 22-28, 2014, Climate Week NYC will be home to around 100 events featuring heads of state, business leaders and civil society representatives, to discuss low carbon solutions and encourage climate action.
The Opening Day of Climate Week NYC, on Monday September 22, will bring together world leaders and corporate CEOs at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York City. They are expected to lay out their shared vision for a vibrant low carbon economy and to announce a number of major new initiatives designed to help kick-start a ‘clean revolution’.
Previous speakers of Climate Week NYC include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, and Michael Bloomberg the 108th Mayor of New York City.
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By Clare Saxon