"We are not here to talk, we are here to make history," Ban told the opening ceremony of his much-anticipated Climate Summit, billed as the largest-ever gathering on climate change, in the General Assembly Hall.


"We need a clear shared vision. The human, environmental, and financial cost of climate change is fast becoming unbearable," Ban said.


Many of the more than 120 Heads of States and Government, business, finance and civil society representatives are expected to announce commitments that will reduce emissions, enhance resistance to climate change and mobilise financing for climate action.


"I am asking you to lead," Ban said. "We must cut emissions. Science says they must peak by 2020 and decline sharply thereafter. By the end of this century we must be carbon neutral."


Underscoring the importance of climate change as the defining issue of our age, Ban noted that the international community's response today will define the future.


He said he has urged governments to commit to a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015, and to do their fair share to limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius.


"To do that, we must work together to mobilise money and move markets. Let us invest in the climate solutions available to us today. Economists have shown that this comes at minimal extra cost, while the benefits to our people and our planet are monumental," he added.


Ban said that all public finance institutions need to step up to the challenge. "And we need to bring private finance from the sidelines. We must begin to capitalise the Green Climate Fund.


And we must meet the broader 100 billion dollar-a-year pledge made in Copenhagen. Let us also put a price on carbon. There is no more powerful way to drive the market transformation we need," he said.


India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had said in New Delhi that India would raise the issue of the Green Climate Fund in the climate summit, stressing that the fund now has to materialise.


Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the earth's surface than any other decade since 1850, noted the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chairperson, Rajendra Pachauri.


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