Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to hit the streets of New York as part of the People's Climate March on Sept. 21. With other marches planned in cities around the U.S. and in 166 other countries, the People's Climate March will go down in history as the largest demonstration to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.
The march is in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Summit at the organization's headquarters in New York on Sept. 23. World leaders will convene to provide their countries' thoughts on reducing carbom emissions in the hopes of reaching a global agreement by 2015 that keeps the increase in the world's temperature to less than 2 degrees Celcius.
Though the People's Climate March shows worldwide solidarity in reducing carbon emissions, as with most heavily-debated political issues, climate change impacts each country differently. It may not be as easy to come to a consensus on the issue at the United Nations Summit on Tuesday.
In particular, wealthier countries experience the effects of climate change differently than poorer countries, The New York Times reports. The more developed, richer countries are responsible for producing much of the greenhouse gases trapping heat in the earth's atmosphere. Poorer countries, on the other hand, may suffer the most from these carbon emissions, which cause extreme weather and rising sea levels, which can be especially harmful for island nations.
Leaders from less wealthy countries are worried that, once again, the pledges from richer countries to combat the potential effects of global warming never materialize into action that adequately address the problem, according to The New York Times.
"We're saying to the U.S. and the developed world, 'You're responsible for this,' " said Ronald Jean Jumeau, the United Nations Ambassador for Seychelles, in a preview of his country's remarks reported by The New York Times. "Don't tell us you can't cut emissions, you can't give money, while you bask in the rich way of life you enjoy now. You know your emissions are damaging us. Help us out here."
The United Nations has already created the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations "limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change," according to the Fund's official website. The plan is for the Fund to send $100 billion a year to poor countries, The New York Times reports. The Fund, which launched recently after four years of planning, has received $1 billion from Germany, and more donations are expected to come this week.
While the countries at the extreme ends of the wealth spectrum get the most attention, it's the nations with medium levels of wealth that might actually be the most vital in offsetting carbon emissions. Due to their fast economic growth in recent years, developing countries produce two-thirds of the world's carbon emissions, with China being the largest creator of greenhouse gases, according to The New York Times.
President Obama is also expected to announce new measures for countries prone to the effects of climate change at the United Nations Summit. However, any announcements from the U.S. and China won't be realized until this spring when both countries plan to release proposals on how they will reduce carbon emissions starting in 2020.