Today in New York, 120 heads of state and government met for the Climate Summit. The goal of this meeting, whose observance is part of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, is to define the bases of the new treaty against climate change, which should begin to develop at the end of this year in Lima and be finalized 12 months later in Paris.
Up to now, past summits have not gotten countries, in particular those that pollute the most — the United States, China, India, and to a lesser degree Brazil — to accept a legal instrument that will bind them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. For example, since the Bush administration, the United States has refused to promise to reduce its pollution levels with the argument that this would damage its economy, and that the only agreement achieved in this sense — the Kyoto Protocol — excludes developing countries, like China and India, from its restrictions — countries that contribute in large part to global warming. In turn, the emerging economies refuse to reduce their emissions, citing their right to develop and to do so on a much larger scale than Western nations.
It is truly about arguments of influence. Nevertheless, it also becomes evident that this progressive effort is sustained thanks to the overexploitation of natural resources, a system that has caused an unprecedented ecological crisis, which threatens to destroy our way of life as we know it, so much so that the scientific community has come to the consensus that if a new convention with new emissions cuts is not implemented and in effect by 2020, the warming will produce unsustainable and qualitative changes to the environment. By the same token, natural disasters, which in 2013 caused the displacement of 22 million people, are revealing that we are quickly approaching a point where it will be impossible to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
Fortunately, this new attempt to commit to the fight against this global threat has come with an unplanned addition: the organization of a multitude of marches against climate change on Sunday in various cities around the world that, according to organizers, amassed over 600,000 people. The center of the protest was New York City, with the participation of at least 300,000 protesters.
Here’s to hoping that this message en-masse helps politicians revive the fight against global warming, which has stagnated for the time being, and to hoping that it provides the necessary motivation to look past short-term needs, overcoming the stingy interests of those groups in power that are opposed to the fight against greenhouse gas emissions for fear that it will affect their pocketbooks.