Climate Summit delivers on advancing bold action

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New actions to immediately tackle climate change were announced on Tuesday at the United Nations secretary-general's Climate Summit at UN headquarters in New York.

The new initiatives on finance, farming, forests, as well as new coalitions bringing together cities, businesses and citizens will cut emissions and strengthen resilience to the impacts of climate change and global warming.

"Change is in the air. Today's Climate Summit has shown an entirely new, cooperative global approach to climate change," said UN chief Ban Ki-moon, adding "The actions announced today by governments, businesses, finance and civil society show that many partners are eager to confront the challenges of climate change together."

The initiatives announced here range from actions that will have a profound impact on global financial markets to more local actions that will reduce the emissions of smallholder farmers.

In the energy sector, two initiatives announced Tuesday will be scaled up to expand access to clean, renewable energy for people in eastern and southern Africa and the Small Island Developing States.

"Today shows that the world is finally waking up to the economic and social opportunities of taking action on climate change," Ban said. "The Climate Summit is showcasing a level of ambition not seen before and producing actions and new initiatives that will make a significant difference."

On finance, the initiative is to mobilize more than 200 billion U.S. dollars in financial resources from public and private sources by the end of 2015. This includes new pledges for the Green Climate Fund, moving assets out of fossil fuel-based investments, the continued efforts of national banks to invest in new climate activities, and wide support for putting a price on carbon emissions.

With regard to forests, more than 150 partners, including 28 governments, 8 subnational governments, 35 companies, 16 indigenous peoples' groups, and 45 non-governmental organizations (NGO) and civil society groups, are signing the New York Declaration on Forests which calls for cutting the loss of forests in half by 2020 and ending it a decade later in 2030.

The declaration is backed by commitments, including pledges of resources and actions from the private sector, governments and civil society.

More than 20 global food companies committed to deforestation- free sourcing policies of palm oil.

Cities are currently responsible for about 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and can play a critical role in reducing these emissions and strengthening resilience. At the one-day summit, mayors from around the world, including New York, Seoul, Paris, Johannesburg, Bogota, and Copenhagen, announced the signing of the Mayor's Compact that will harmonize their members' targets and strategies.

Leaders from more than 40 countries, 30 cities and dozens of corporations launched large-scale commitments on energy efficiency to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce energy costs.

More than 10 countries in Asia and the Pacific are joining the 55 countries already committed to phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps by 2016, as part of a partnership to improve efficiency of residential lighting. They will collectively save more than 2 terawatt hours in electricity consumption yearly, reducing by 440 kilotonnes their emissions of CO2 and lowering their electricity bills by more than 270 million U.S. dollars each year.

More than 120 heads of state or government attended the one-day summit at UN Headquarters in New York, which aims to raise ambition, mobilize resources, and generate action toward a universal climate deal in 2015.

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