The climate crisis is worsening faster than predicted, by every scientific measure, and is paralleled by another crisis: the failure of the U.N. climate negotiation process.
“You have been negotiating all my life,” student activist Anjali Appadurai said as she addressed the formal climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, back in 2011. The climate negotiations have been in a virtual gridlock, with nations, most notably the United States under President Obama, blocking progress and protecting their national interests while the planet heats up, potentially irreversibly.
Appadurai, the designated youth speaker, said. “You’ve given us a seat in this hall, but our interests are not on the table. What does it take to get a stake in this game? Lobbyists? Corporate influence? Money?”
Three years later, the United Nations is now holding a special climate summit in New York City on Tuesday, with more than 100 world leaders expected. Unlike the formal U.N. climate negotiations, the goal of this nonbinding summit, the UN says, is “to raise political will and mobilize action, thereby generating momentum toward a successful outcome of the negotiations.”