(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Big Promises Are Made at the U.N. Climate Summit, but Will They Be Kept?

World leaders vow to slash carbon emissions, while corporations pledge hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.
Sep 23, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Todd Woody is TakePart's editorial director, environment.

A parade of world leaders appeared at the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, promising in four-minute-long speeches to redouble efforts to reduce carbon emissions and take other measures to combat climate change.

U.S. President Barack Obama, for instance, pledged bigger cuts in carbon emissions. China’s vice premier touted his country's progress on reducing its carbon spew. President Michelle Bachelet of Chile said that 45 percent of her nation’s energy would come from renewable sources by 2025. Indonesia vowed to cut 26 percent greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, delivered an anticapitalist take on climate change and urged action over profit making.

“When you eat the last fish caught, you will realize you can’t eat money,” he said.

To see what each country promised to do, check out Mashable’s nifty map below.

We’ve heard similar promises for the past 20 years, only to have actions fall short. But as climate change accelerates and the effects—from coastal flooding owing to rising sea levels to more extreme weather—become all too real, there seems to be more urgency about finally hammering out a binding international agreement at the next big round of negotiations, which are scheduled for December 2015 in Paris.

Meanwhile, banks, insurers, and other corporations used the U.N. Climate Summit to make their own big promises, including $200 billion in private and public funding to help fight and adapt to climate change. Three European and North American pension funds vowed to put more than $31 billion into low-carbon investments by 2020, while Kellogg Company, McDonald's, and Walmart said they would use more food grown according to environmentally sound practices.