UN Climate Summit: Leaders must leave New York with voice of citizens ringing in their ears

Published: 23rd September 2014

Today, more than 120 world leaders, corporate leaders and representatives from civil society met in New York for the UN Climate Summit. Created as a platform for international and national commitments to tackle climate change, the collection of announcements offered a limited approach to addressing the urgent threat of climate change.

In response to this summit Tim Gore, head of climate policy for the aid agency Oxfam, said:

“Just days after more than half a million people around the world took to the streets to demand action on the climate crisis, today’s Summit will conclude with only a partial and piecemeal response. Some positive signals were sent, but too many of the commitments made lack vital details or are recycled. No government should leave New York thinking the job is done.” 

Oxfam welcomed some new commitments from governments and businesses, among them just over $1.3 Bn in new pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) from Denmark, France, South Korea, Norway, Mexico, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, and Switzerland.

Gore said: 
“After four long years, the cash is starting to land in the Green Climate Fund albeit at little more than a trickle. All eyes are now on those yet to stump up, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, and on the devil in the detail of those pledges made today.

“The pledges announced here still leave the fund with less than a sixth of the total developed countries should commit.”

Several initiatives were also announced to mobilize private finance for climate action. 

Gore said: 
“We welcome the increasing interest of investors in greening their investments and dumping fossil fuels. But strong standards to guide private finance flows, agreed to by developing countries and affected communities, must be established as a priority to ensure the trillions of dollars that will flow really are green - not green-wash.

“Extreme weather continues to cost lives and ruin crops, leaving millions more at risk of hunger. This Summit has not on its own done enough to protect our communities and our children’s future, but if leaders leave New York with the voices of the thousands who marched here ringing in their ears, it may yet prove a turning point.”  


Notes to editors

Pledges to the Green Climate Fund at the Summit:

Denmark: $70m
France: $1000m
South Korea: $100m
Norway: $33m
Switzerland: $100m
Mexico: $10m

Luxembourg: $6.4m

Czech Republic: $5.5m

Total: $1325m 

Prior to the Summit, pledges had been made by:
Germany: $960m
Sweden: $40m

Total amount pledge to the fund to date: $2.325m ($2.3 billion).

Oxfam is calling for $15 billion in public finance to capitalize the Green Climate Fund for its first three years of operations.

Pledges for the Green Climate Fund, as of 23 September 2014

Contact information

For interviews or information, please contact Sue Rooks, Media Officer, at +1 917 224 0834.

Follow @Oxfam for updates.