Hopes are high for a climate treaty this December in Paris.
"The right people are in the right place at the right time," says Ed Davey, UK’s Secretary of Energy and Climate, referring to the recent alignment between President Obama, China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Modi.
"The stakes are very high. And that is why I believe personality matters. It will matter who is sitting round the table in Paris in December. "Who will be willing to take risks? To embrace enlightened self-interest? To move beyond the narrow confines of their domestic politics? To take that leap?"
The commitment from the White House has never been as strong, Modi is "changing the mood" in India, and Xi Jinping is pursuing an "ecological civilization" as it moves towards a national carbon market. And the EU remains a leading advocate for action on climate change, he observes.
"I judge the prospects of a comprehensive climate deal to be the best since we first began this journey many decades ago."
Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current UN special envoy for climate change, agrees. "This is the most important year since 1945. In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, we got the charter for the United Nations, the international institutions [that embodied it], the Marshall Plan, and a few years later we got the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year we have to get a similar order of decisions, which will determine the future for decades, and longer."
Prince Charles calls the December summit possibly the "last chance" to save the Earth from the threats of climate change. "We simply cannot let this opportunity go to waste."
"In the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta, perhaps this year’s agreement of the new sustainable development goals and a new climate agreement in Paris should be seen as a new Magna Carta for the Earth, and humanity’s relationship with it," he said during a speech to forestry and climate experts in London.
"This is an absolutely crucial opportunity, if not the last chance before we end up in an irreversible situation, for the international community to establish a new set of interlocking, coherent and ambitious frameworks governing human development, poverty, disaster risk reduction, the natural environment and climate change. We could, and should, see an agenda set for the coming decades that is capable of transforming the prospects for humanity by improving and nurturing the state of the planet upon which we all depend."
At a recent G20 meeting, Winston Halapua, Archbishop of Polynesia, said "humanity’s greed is to blame for lack of action on climate change and the narrow obsession with economic growth. We human beings dominate the planet Earth as if we are the only living beings around."