NEW: Climate talks can set agenda for talks later this year and in 2015, Kerry says
NEW: He urges political and business leaders to push for change
The United Nations holds a climate summit Tuesday
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry opened a week of climate change talks in New York on Monday, saying he’s hopeful the discussions will set the tone for upcoming negotiations on an international agreement.
“It’s about time that world leaders come to the United Nations to recognize this threat in the way that it requires and demands,” Kerry said in his keynote address to business and government leaders attending Climate Week NYC, a private climate-change event that coincides with the U.N. summit scheduled for Tuesday.
“And it gives me hope that this global summit may actually produce the leadership that is necessary to try to come together and move the needle, to take advantage of the small window of time – and I mean that – the small window of time that we have left in order to be able to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from already happening.”
He urged participants to use their influence to steer world leaders toward committing to greater action on climate change in time for discussions on an international climate change agreement to be held in Lima, Peru, in December and in Paris in 2015.
His speech reflected efforts to recruit businesses to the climate-change reduction bandwagon, focusing as much on the economic opportunities of transitioning to a low-carbon economy as on the perils of failing to do so.
“It’s the mother of all markets,” he said of the energy sector.
“The solution to climate change is a win, win, win, win if people would stop and look at it,” he said.
His remarks came a day before the United Nations holds a summit of world leaders to discuss the same issue.
Some 125 countries will attend the session, according to the Climate Group, which is organizing Climate Week NYC.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters marched in New York, demanding results on climate change policies.
One marcher’s sign read “cut your emissions or you’ll sleep with the fishes.”