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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

23 June 2009


Opening remarks at a joint press conference on climate change with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project

Thank you very much, Mr. Howard. Mr. Mayor and Mr. Dickinson, ladies and gentleman, citizens of New York. Good afternoon.

It's a great pleasure for me to participate in this very meaningful event and particularly to be joined by distinguished Mayor Bloomberg of New York and other civic leaders.

We are here for one reason: to push for urgent action on climate change from world leaders, from civic leaders and from everyone, every citizen of the world, including New York City.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing this and future generations. Much more for future generation: your daughters and sons and your grandchildren.

Emissions are rising and the clock is ticking.

That is why I am going to convene an unprecedented Climate Change Summit of the United Nations here at UN Headquarters on 22 September. I appeal to all the world's leaders to participate and make their contribution and make their commitment and give clear instructions to the negotiators on climate change.

According to the world's leading scientists, we have less than ten years to halt the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet.

Now is the time for action.

This year we have an unprecedented opportunity to change course and retool our economies to generate green growth, green jobs for a lasting recovery.

In December, the world's governments will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, to negotiate a new global climate agreement.

If we are to “seal a deal” in Copenhagen, we need to be bold and ambitious and visionary. And therefore we need the full support and commitment of the visionary global leaders at the highest level.

The United Nations can highlight the imperative for action. We can mobilize support and facilitate the negotiations.

But, in the end, it is the Parliaments, the Presidents and Prime Ministers and Ministers and governors and mayors of the world that have to act. The difficult but necessary policy choices facing us today can only be made by them. And I count on the leadership and commitment of Mayor Bloomberg. That is why I am here.

And also that is why I am inviting the Heads of State and Government from every country in the world to the United Nations Headquarters [Headquarters] on 22 September. I am counting on all leaders to attend again, whether they are from countries with the highest emissions or from those suffering most acutely from the effects, including those small island developing countries, landlocked countries and least developed countries.

The goal of the Climate Change [Summit] is to mobilize the political momentum needed to seal the deal in Copenhagen on a fair, effective and scientifically ambitious new climate framework.

We have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time. This is the time to act.

So far, the response by the world's governments has been less than sufficient.

I hope that working together, the world's leaders will signal their determination to resolve all final obstacles. I want this Climate Summit to help them seal the deal.

All nations, and all leaders, have a stake in a successful outcome in Copenhagen. Climate change involves everyone.

That's what the United Nation's “seal the deal” campaign is all about: mobilizing support across the globe.

To put it simply: If we want a climate change agreement in December, we need action today.

We need action from the grassroots, from religious groups and young people, from Main Street to Wall Street and beyond.

That is why I am pleased to join forces with the City of New York and the NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] community to launch Climate Week NYC, which will be held throughout the week of the Summit.

It is also why I am pleased to be joined by the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

Mayor Bloomberg has taken important steps to build a green economy right here in New York City. He is a leading voice on this issue. And I count on your support, your cooperation, your participation. And most importantly, I count on the visionary leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Thank you very much.