An air of impatience — Why can’t the climate negotiations move just a bit faster? Quite a number of participants in the negotiations are asking the question. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Typhoon Hiyan was not a wake-up call. “It was an alarm bell — it may be our last.” And UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres told participants to ask themselves, “Am I doing enough? We’re running out of time. The time for action is now. No more wasting time. No more plans. No more pilot projects. 2014 is the year for action.” For UN General Assembly President John Ashe, who attended many COPs as a delegate, things have not changed much, except for his perspective. “I have sat side-by-side with many of you who are here today in a variety of climate change fora across the globe over the past two decades! And so I can tell you that I have heard many of the very same arguments you have made in the past and are now again making; and, indeed I know the arguments, challenges, the difficulties, and the frustrations of the negotiating process all too well.” He added, “And I am sorry to say that the larger, global picture, Distinguished Delegates, looks pretty bleak – and can only get bleaker if we continue to cling to our old arguments and dig our heads and heels into the proverbial sand.”
Uncertainty is over-rated— It used to be that uncertainty was an excuse not to do anything, Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization said. Climate concentrations are now at their highest in 800,000 years — of that we are certain, and that there is huge certainty that human activities are playing a leading role in climate change. It is true, for example, that we do not know whether climate change caused Typhoon Haiyan. But Jarraud said there is certainty that the sea level is now significantly higher in the Philippines than it was 100 years ago, rising three to four times the global average. Consequently, a typhoon will now have a much bigger impact than it would have had 100 years ago.
2014 Climate Summit — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Conference participants that the date for next year’s Summit will be 23 September 2014. The date was cleared by the General Assembly, which voted unanimously to postpone the start of the General Debate by a day, providing a full day of wall-to-wall climate discussions at a time when world leaders are in New York.
After thanking delegates for supporting his initiative, he emphasized that it would be “a solutions summit,” and not a negotiating session. All Heads of State and Government are invited, along with leaders from finance, business, local government and civil society, to this Climate Summit. And he stresses that “everyone who comes should come with bold new announcements and action.”