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Statement on UNSG's Climate Summit by Climate Action Network and the Global Call for Climate Action

The UNSG's Climate Summit today contributed to the growing sense that the fossil fuel era is ending and delivered some momentum towards an international climate agreement to be signed in Paris next year, according to civil society groups organized in two major networks.

A small but growing number of countries joined UNSG Ban Ki-moon and actor Leonardo diCaprio to confirm the need to speed up the switch from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy, such as Samoa, Tuvalu, Costa Rica and Denmark. Other countries, like Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia and Iceland pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050. 

While the Summit produced positive signals and some money on the table for climate action, many governments came to New York today to merely restate what they are already doing. As the almost 700,000 people who joined the Peoples Climate marches over the weekend know, what they are already doing is not nearly enough. 

"Leaders in New York, including US President Barack Obama, acknowledged they can no longer act against the will of the people. And on the weekend, the will of the people was made profoundly clear. Mums and dads, people of faith, progressive business leaders, union members and youth - all are already taking action in massive numbers, and they expect Heads of Government to join them and do more, now." Climate Action Network director Wael Hmaidan said. 

"Government leaders have the choice to lead the orderly transformation of our societies or to end up on the wrong side of history."

China should be commended for signaling its intention to peak emissions as soon as possible. Such moves along with more ambitious actions by the US - which President Obama hinted at -  could accelerate negotiations towards the global climate agreement due next year. We now need them to translate their positive rhetoric into concrete commitments – carbon cuts and climate finance for the world’s vulnerable nations.

Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor Mohamed Adow said, "those countries that are hawking old goods today have to go back to their capitals with a renewed determination to get their countries on the right path with the words of the Marshall Islands', Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner ringing in their ears, who said in the opening ceremony on behalf of civil society "We deserve to not just survive. We deserve to thrive."

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About CAN and GCCA

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org

The Global Call for Climate Action is an international network of diverse non-profit organizations working to mobilize civil society and galvanize public opinion in support of climate action. More at: www.tcktcktck.org

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