About "It's Getting Personal"
For years we've associated climate change with polar bears on ice floes. But the truth is climate change is just as much about people -- our decisions, our homes, our lives. We’re all in danger of losing things we love because of climate change.
But for global change to really take root, people must act. You have the power to pull together and influence the future of climate change, while we can connect you and your ideas to the UN.
That’s why we created It’s Getting Personal – so you can share your climate change story with the world and find others who are passionate about protecting what they love. Submit your personal story here. (See Submission Guidelines.)
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Copenhagen is more than the capital of Denmark. It’s home to Europe’s longest pedestrian street (the Strøget). It’s the birthplace of LEGO building blocks. And from Dec. 7-18, 2009, it hosted the next significant step in combating climate change as world leaders gathered to develop a new global agreement.
So after all that planning, debating, and negotiating, what exactly happened at Copenhagen? Three big things, actually:
- All but five countries “took note” of the final climate proposal. Countries that recognized the proposal have until the end of January to register their plans to reduce emissions and combat climate change impacts already occurring. Even then, the final document is not binding; signing it is more an act of goodwill. We look forward to the next climate conference in Mexico in December, when countries will reconvene to try locking the proposal down.
- The United States, China, and India all pledged to cut their carbon output by 2020. The U.S. promised a 17% reduction in emissions, while China committed up to 45% and India set a 24% target in their carbon intensity. The difference? Carbon intensity measures the amount of energy used to produce one unit of economic growth, making it a comparable guideline for developing countries.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States will help mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to address developing countries’ climate change needs. The funds will focus on adaptation (to cope with the impact of global warming) and mitigation (to reduce emissions specifically).
It’s critical we all get informed about how climate decisions impact our lives. Visit our Tools & Resources section to learn more. And for more details about the road to Copenhagen (no, it’s not the Strøget), check out our Climate & Energy section.
The UN has been working to address the climate change crisis since 1992, when the world came together to adopt the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Under the UNFCCC, now with a near-universal 192 signatories, all countries are responsible for working to avoid “dangerous human interference” with the climate.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made cooperation on climate change one of his top priorities, and is committed to working with countries to help them reach a new agreement. He also appointed four Climate Change Envoys and created an advisory group to offer strategic advice and recommendations ahead of the negotiations.
In addition to raising awareness through our climate campaign, the UN Foundation is drawing on the expertise of our president Timothy E. Wirth, formerly a U.S. Senator and Undersecretary of State.
Senator Wirth has helped shape climate change policy for over 20 years -- from chairing the historic Hansen hearings that first brought the dangers of climate change to a broad audience, to today’s efforts to adopt meaningful climate action both in the U.S. and internationally.
The UN Foundation’s senior energy and climate staff includes:
- Reid Detchon, Vice President for Energy and Climate at the United Nations Foundation and Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition.
- Melinda Kimble, a Senior Vice President of the Foundation who leads an international initiative on bioenergy.
- Mohamed T. El-Ashry, a Senior Fellow with the UN Foundation where he serves as facilitator and advisor to Global Leadership for Climate Action, the Foundation’s partnership with the Club of Madrid.
- Mark Hopkins, an internationally recognized expert in energy efficiency who leads the UN Foundation’s effort to promote efficiency gains on an international scale.
- Leslie Cordes, the Director of Partnerships for Energy and Climate who is responsible for developing new relationships with the philanthropic, international donor, and private sector communities.
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