U.N. official hails ‘record’ turnout of NY climate change summit

More than 120 world leaders meeting at the U.N. in New York to chart the initial steps of a deal to curb the effects of climate change is a “historic” achievement, Robert C. Orr, the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for policy coordination and strategic planning, told Al Arabiya News Channel on Tuesday.

“World leaders are coming in record numbers, over 120 world leaders are meeting over climate change is historic. What will set this meeting apart is what they will say,” Orr said during an interview with Al Arabiya's New York bureau chief Talal al-Haj.

The summit is the first high-level gathering since the Copenhagen conference on climate change in 2009 which ended in disarray. In Copenhagen, less than 100 leaders attended the meeting.

“Climate change is hitting much harder today: there is no part of the world that is not feeling the pain."

“This is not about saving the planet for our children and grandchildren … it is about saving are our own jobs, our own lives, and our own economies today.”

Orr said it was the first time leaders were expressing their views to forge a “new vision” for “what the new agreement” in 2015 will look like.

“We will see the path to Paris develop here in New York this week.”

Officials and climate activists alike consider the summit in the U.N. as crucial ahead of the Paris conference in 2015 that is expected to produce an agreement on bringing down greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

Important announcements are also expected.

“We will see major announcements of an international finance, private finance; this is new,” Orr said.

“Businesses are changing the way they do their business and that includes oil and gas, agriculture, every type of industry is affected.”

He urged people and governments to care more about climate change, particularly in the Middle East and Africa as they are “the hardest hit regions in the world.”

Orr also voiced confidence that “we have the tools to reverse this,” citing low cost of sustainable energy such as solar and wind.

“It takes leadership and investment plans to save money later.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43