Nowadays almost everybody, from a government leader to a street vendor, is talking about climate change, described by the United Nations as a defining challenge of our times. The topic becomes even more hectic as the UN Summit on Climate Change draws near, attracting more than 90 heads of state or government in the largest yet gathering on the challenge.
Indeed, global abnormal climate, such as drought or flooding, has brought disasters to many regions around the world, continuously ringing alarm to the human society. From Myanmar to the United States, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, every country and region is not immune to the impact of climate change. In response, no country can tackle the problem all by itself.
However, no substantial progress has been reported so far from the UN climate change negotiations, thus prompting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene the Sept. 22 summit in order to focus minds and generate action. The summit is mainly aimed at injecting a political impetus into the UN Climate Change Conference, which is to be held in Copenhagen in December.
Diplomats from all UN member states will gather in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which for the first time bound wealthy countries to specific cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries agreed to launch the new negotiations on a global agreement to tackle climate change at the end of 2007 in Bali, Indonesia. To reach an agreement at the Copenhagen conference, they set up an accelerated schedule for negotiations. But paving the way for constructive negotiations have proven extraordinarily complex.
"This is an incredibly complex negotiation process. Unfortunately, we have not made much progress in the UN climate change negotiations," Ban told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview. "That is why I am convening this summit meeting." The secretary-general, who calls for global efforts to "seal a deal" in Copenhagen, has given top priority to the issue of climate change since he took his post more than two and a half years ago and called 2009 "the year of climate change."