Parliamentary leaders from some 140 countries today declared that the United Nations must remain the cornerstone of global cooperation as an Organization that embodies the ardent hope of people around the world and pledged to place “democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development for the world the people want.” 

Meeting at UN Headquarters in New York since Monday, the more than 170 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Parliament at the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament adopted a declaration today acknowledging that extraordinary efforts would be needed to build a world that people want by turning the tide against the many challenges that undermine democracy, peace and development.

 “The world is at a crossroads. The enormity of the challenges that we and our planet face is daunting. We must have the resolve to overcome them. How political leaders respond to the crises that threaten us has perhaps never been as important to our future as now,” said Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Saber Chowdhury.

 

 The world’s parliamentary leaders committed to bringing parliament closer to the people by tackling the growing public scepticism and disconnect with politics, social and political marginalization, gender inequality and an imbalanced power relationship with government.

Let me start with a brief historical overview, albeit in a selective manner, to put sustainable development in perspective. One may go back to the industrial revolution that started in Britain around 1750. Other currently developed countries followed suit later. In this procession, the US joined much later. But the essential point is that the main focus of industrialization was on economic growth, fueled by coal as the starter and later also by petroleum. Development of railway revolutionalized movement of goods and people. All these activities began emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) in a major way. The GHG emissions accelerated as the industrialization expanded in terms of production and distribution of machinery, equipment, coal-fired heating, vehicles and planes, consumer durables such as refrigerators and air conditioners, etc. The danger that began to grow slowly but steadily in terms of concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere to cause global warming was not recognized early enough.

The opening day of the Business & Climate Summit here in Paris has taught me a few things.

 

Firstly that everything sounds better in French, even "changement climatique."

 

Secondly, that the French serve wine with lunch, even during a stuffy business conference.

 

These two factors raise my confidence that the major government negotiation due to be held here in December might actually work. COP21 will be filled with slightly buzzed delegates glamoured by sexy French accents.

The United States have joined 'the club of non-signatories of the Paris Climate Deal.' Two other members of this three-member club are Syria and Nicaragua. Thanks to the 45th President of the United States Mr. Donald Trump, the media mogul. He has pulled the country out of the deal. The second largest carbon emitter of the world, the US, will not adhere to the plan to reduce 26% to 28% of the greenhouse emission by 2025.

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