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Updated on October 20, 2009
Storms and abrupt changes in weather are becoming frequent due to climate change.
Storms and abrupt changes in weather are becoming frequent due to climate change.


By Edwin C. Mercurio

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening remarks today, September 22, 2009 to the UN Climate Change Summit Plenary -the largest-ever gathering of world leaders on climate change urged world leaders to take immediate action to halt the rise in global emissions.

“Your presence bears witness to the gravity of the climate challenge. It is testament to the opportunity Copenhagen offers. Your decisions will have momentous consequences. You have the power to chart a safer, more sustainable and prosperous course for this and future generations. The power to reduce the emissions that are causing climate change... to help the most vulnerable adapt to changes that are already under way... to catalyze a new era of global green growth. Now is your moment to act.”

The UN Secretary-General warned that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. “We will soon reach critical thresholds.Consequences that we cannot reverse."

Citing the warnings made by world’s leading scientists, the UN official stressed that “we have less than ten years to avoid the worst-case scenarios projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC].”

The worst-case scenarios Mr. Ban Ki-moon said are becoming ever more likely.

“We must halt the rise in global emissions.”

After visiting the Arctic earlier this month, he expressed his alarm over the rapid pace of change. The Arctic, he warned, “could be nearly ice-free by 2030.”

The consequences of this rapid change in the Arctic, he stated, will be felt by people on every continent.

“All across Africa – the most vulnerable continent – climate change threatens to roll back years of development gains.”

“Climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical and economic issue of the 21st century. It rewrites the global equation for development, peace and prosperity. It will increase pressure on water, food and land…. reverse years of development gains…. exacerbate poverty…. destabilize fragile states and topple governments. Some say tackling climate change is too expensive. They are wrong. The opposite is true. We will pay an unacceptable price if we do not act now. “

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao also took to the podium and addressed the United Nations, today, calling for action to cut emissions linked to global climate change.

President Obama said, the US is “determined to act” to combat climate change. Mr. Obama warned of “irreversible catastrophe to future generations if the world doesn’t limit greenhouse-gas emissions.”

The United States’ and China’s assent to a climate-change treaty is critically important because the two countries together account for forty percent of greenhouse-gas emissions, media reports say.

Meanwhile,Toronto, Montreal and many other Canadian and world cities join up today for annual CAR-FREE DAY with many walking and biking their way to work to mark the event. "Tonight" reports that VIA Rail, “is also getting in on the act by offering a discount on its economy class e-coupons until December 14, to promote trains as a green mode of transportation.”

Yesterday, September 21, thousands of citizens around the world made a political statement by participating in the Global Climate Wake-Up Call – an international day of action prompting citizens all over the planet to come together for five-minute flash actions in the hopes of grabbing the world leaders’ attention on the Global Climate Change ahead of the Conference in Copenhagen this December.

Participants of the Wake-Up Call formed a human clock in Ottawa. In other parts of the world some made noise by honking their cars, beating drums, pots and gongs to make their point that the countdown is on for world leaders to put their act together and sign a strong climate change treaty in Copenhagen. “We are running out of time,” they said.



Submit a Comment

  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thanks. I hope we can all find ways to help and influence our leaders to act on this global issue.

  • lmmartin profile image


    9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

    Excellent article, with all the necessary facts to get one to think. Thanks


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