The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday a summit on climate change which drew around 100 heads of state and government, calling on world leaders to reach a global climate agreement in Copenhagen. Warning that progress in reaching the agreement was too slow for its anticipated signing at the UN conference in December, Ban Ki-moon called for concluding the agreement on climate protection for the benefit of the future generations, describing it as a political and moral imperative of the present moment.
The US President Barack Obama said in his speech that history would judge the response of the present generation to the challenge of climate change. Failing to act courageously, quickly and together puts the future generations in danger of a disaster that will not be possible to avoid, Obama said. He added that his government had done more in eight months for the protection of the climate and development of alternative energy sources than had the previous US governments over a period of several years.
Also attending the summit was Croatian President Stjepan Mesić, who addressed the conference in a video message, saying that the UN was the only right place for discussing a global threat such as climate change.
"We need a new global platform for a determined and concerted fight against a further worsening in the area of global climate change," President Mesić stated in his message among other things.
The New York summit is being held two months before the conference in Copenhagen at which world leaders are expected to accept a global agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which is to replace the Kyoto Protocol at the end of 2012.
The key requirement for reaching agreement on the matter is the readiness of the United States and China, each accounting for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the burning of coal, oil and gas, to seriously cut down those emissions. The USA and China are followed by the European Union with a 14 percent share, and Russia and India each with a five percent share in global pollution.
The New York summit is expected to prompt the political will at the highest level so that a just, effective and scientifically ambitious global agreement on the climate could be reached in Copenhagen.