New York

23 June 2009

Secretary-General's comments at a joint press conference on climate change with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project

Thank you very much, Mr. Howard. Mr. Mayor [Michael Bloomberg] and Mr. [Paul] Dickinson [CEO, Carbon Disclosure Project], 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 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.

Q: [inaudible]

SG: This is a very important part of our negotiation. This climate change negotiation and addressing all these issues, in fact, should be led by the industrialized countries in view of their historical responsibilities. But what they need to do is, in terms of providing technology, in terms of providing financing support, the industrialized countries should take much more attention and support to developing countries - the most vulnerable countries, including least developing countries, land-locked countries and small island developing countries. I have been working very hard to mobilize political will as well as financial and technological support for these developing countries. That will be one of the very important elements to make these negotiations a success.

Q: Somebody said that business is willing and able and ready to take care of global warming. Didn't they cause it in the first place?

SG: In addressing this global warming phenomenon, it is vitally important that governments, the business community and the civil community cooperate. We need this tripartite partnership working together. In fact, business participation, particularly [by] CEOs, is crucially important. I have been meeting a group of CEOs during the last two and a half years; in parallel with my own efforts to talk with government leaders, business leaders' participation is very important. The United Nations has established a very important initiative called the Global Compact. These business leaders have taken the initiative [in a project] called “Caring for Climate”. This is an initiative done by business leaders [with whom] I have been working very closely. Participation of business CEOs during the September 22nd summit will be a very important part. And I am also considering inviting Mayor Bloomberg, if his schedule permits. I know that he is a very busy leader, but let us see. I think a contribution by such a distinguished mayor of New York City, one of the biggest cities in the world -- that will give a very good example of how mayors and governors and local government leaders can lead by example. Thank you very much.