Climate change issues are before the UN again and the world community.
The international community has been negotiating strategies to limit greenhouse gas emissions for more than 22 years. Yet global emissions keep rising, and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2013, according to a report this month from the World Meteorological Organization.
“During all of this time, notwithstanding the focus, we are not meeting the challenge,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday. As a senator, Kerry was a leader in congressional efforts to pass climate legislation, but the attempts never succeeded. (Related: “Climate Change May Put Half of North American Birds at Risk of Extinction.”)
No big announcements were expected Tuesday from U.S. President Barack Obama in his midday address. He will outline U.S. progress in dealing with climate change and meeting his goal of reducing greenhouse gases 17 percent below 2005 levels and will pledge to make commitments for “robust” reductions after 2020 if other big economies do the same, according to White House officials.
On Monday Kerry said that if global sea levels rose by a meter by the end of the century, as some scientists predict, it would put 20 percent of greater New York City under water.
“Just one meter would displace hundreds of millions of people worldwide and threaten billions in economic activity,” he said.