Government and business leaders meet this month in preparation for next year’s global climate negotiations, and much has changed since the last such gathering
A UN-sponsored summit on 23 September in New York will mark the first time in five years that world leaders have gathered together to chart a new course to limit global warming. With leaders from business and civil society given the opportunity to work directly with heads of state, organisers say the event may serve to embolden commitments to act in the run-up to a new global accord due to be signed in Paris in 2015.
“It's almost a perfect storm for action,” says Paul Simpson, chief executive of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a London-based non-profit group and a co-sponsor of the September summit. The affordability and availability of clean technologies is one big reason for optimism. More than 30 countries now have climate change regulations in place, a key difference from the situation at Copenhagen in 2009, the last time world leaders tried to forge a new legally binding treaty.
There is also a collective awareness of repeated climate disasters giving rise to a global consensus on the need for action. About 1 million climate campaigners are expected to march through New York on 21 September, while similar events are expected in London and elsewhere. This could put added...