The US and China and the UN Climate Summit

The United Nations Climate Summit convened by United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon was held on September 23rd 2014. The summit drew over 100 Government, business, finance and civil society leaders who affirmed their vision and commitment for reaching a universal and meaningful climate agreement in 2015. They also called on member countries to mobilize financing to combat climate change.

According to Mark Lander and Coral Davenport of the New York Times, US President Barack Obama, “emboldened by his executive powers to fight climate change at home”, took the summit as an opportunity to challenge China. Lander and Davenport note that Mr. Obama highlighted the importance of the world’s two largest economies and two largest polluters to be responsible in leading efforts in fighting climate change.

The United Nations Climate Summit aims for a Global Climate Treaty to be negotiated by 2015, a goal that Lander and Davenport believe will be unattainable without cooperation between Beijing and Washington, as then “few other countries will agree to the treaty”. Lander and Davenport further note that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s absence at the summit meeting sent a “less-than-enthusiastic message”, particularly as China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter and Chinese have actively protested China’s heavy reliance on coal for energy.

The climate summit was the first time Mr. Obama had spoken at such a gathering, and Lander and Davenport claim that the President sought to use the opportunity to erase international skepticism about America’s resolve in tackling climate problems.

Lander and Davenport report that to reach the UN’s established goal of reaching an agreement by the end of 2015, countries must reveal concrete plans by April 1st, 2015.

The opinions expressed in the article summary above are the opinions of the author alone and not that of Global Summitry or its staff, editors and or advisers.



Landler, Mark and Davenport, Coral. “Obama Presses Chinese on Global Warming” The New York Times [New York]. 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 23 Sept. 2014.


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