More than 300,000 people filled the streets of the foremost cities of the world this Sunday, to which Bogotá also added, in order to get involved in the “People’s Climate March,” the largest known gathering in favor of the fight against climate change. The cities saw large banners, heard shouts and lectures, all as a part of a mass demand directed at the most important leaders of the planet, so that they will take radical and definite measures to mitigate the phenomenon.
And the moment of this manifestation was deserved and could not be improved upon because in New York today begins one of the most important summits about the climate that has been organized in the last few decades, where 100 leaders of state will participate, with President Barack Obama at the head.
The objective of the gathering — which is being realized as a part of the activities of the 69th Assembly of the United Nations, devised by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — consists of the [participating] countries announcing or endorsing commitments that definitely reflect the negotiation of a new treaty for climate change, which should be approved the following year in Paris during the 21st Conference of the Parties [COP 21], an agreement that will come into force by 2020 at the latest.
This assembly in the “capital of the world” that foreshadows the COP 20 of Lima in December of this year — another step in this whole process — will be the first high-level meeting after the failure in Copenhagen five years ago, and it should revitalize and relaunch a process of climate negotiations in deadlock for a long time, as if an enormous concentration of shifting sand had fallen. Part of this paralysis also reflects the attitude of some leaders who, aware of the consequences of an environment continually deteriorating, endorse projects in zones where it is not clear that they suitable apt for mining projects. The transformation of the climate — which now even affects Colombia, with unusual and repeating droughts and long and intense winters — is a serious and major problem that touches all aspects of human life. That is why bringing together so many politicians could be one of the best opportunities to ask them for the best degree of compromise and to begin writing a new page toward the efficient reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which increased 2.3 percent in 2013.
Therefore, they demand control over this contamination, so that the average temperature of the planet does not increase more than 2 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels. In addition, among other things, this can alleviate the impact of disasters, which caused three times more displacement than violence did in 2013.
There are good intentions. Africa proposes a corridor of clean energy between Egypt and South Africa. The World Bank suggests the creation of taxes on carbon emissions. The United States announced that it will lower its pollution levels by 30 percent before 2025. But humanity will not live for the long term through small and specific good wishes. There is a major and transcendental challenge: They will have to reduce divisions between emerging economies, the major emitters, which still have an interest in growth, and those that fight to grow and withstand major climate destruction, oppositions that cause an effective agreement to totter. However, New York can open the path toward a consensus that is above all a substantial global desire.