Greenpeace Action at Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. 07/14/2014 © Gordon Welters / Greenpeace

News stories are circulating about a draft IPCC climate science report – a summary report for policymakers – which condenses three full reports of climate research. The summary report will officially be released in early November, but the bottom line of the more than 5000 pages is something most of us already know, even if many try to ignore it: climate change is here and it's already grown to be a huge threat to us and the generations which will follow. During our lifetimes the planet will go through catastrophic changes unless we come to the only sensible conclusion and start phasing out carbon emissions now and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Climate change may seem complex and out of reach. But ultimately, it's very simple; burning fossil fuels – namely oil, coal and gas, causes the majority of the climate-warming emissions. To save ourselves, we must stop digging-up and burning more of it. That's the only conclusion one can draw from the science. Immediate action must also mean stopping deforestation and other carbon sinks.

The choice is up to us. Every day we allow fossil fuel use to continue unchecked – while new coal mines and oil fields are being planned – we are part of the problem. Every day we challenge the old powers and demand for clean and safe energy by building it ourselves, we are part of the solution – part of a rapidly growing movement for change that's sweeping across the world from China to the US.

Right now, as governments are preparing for a new global climate agreement to be signed in Paris, December 2015, the climate fight is being fought in the capitals of the world, where decisions on coal use, oil drilling, new pipelines and city infrastructure are made. It is fought when our politicians set targets for renewable energy, clean air, or climate emission cuts. Only by reflecting national interest to change can we expect breakthroughs at the international negotiation tables.

The good news is that climate change is back on the global political agenda – at the highest possible level. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is convening a Climate Summit for heads of states on September 23, in New York City. He aims to build political momentum for a revived international cooperation. At best, we could witness signs of a new kind of leadership from emerging economies such as China, which has recently set radical policies to curb its coal use and to promote renewable energy, but has yet to turn its domestic action into leadership at the international level.

The dramatic growth rate of coal use in China has stalled at zero and shows signs of declining for the first six months of this year. This is a shift from the 10% average annual growth rate in 2003-2011. At the same time, US trends in coal use has changed dramatically too, resulting in absolute emissions decline. One wouldn't be surprised if coal was among the unifying themes when the leaders of two of the largest emitters seek common ground in New York.

But where are the European leaders; the ones who used to lead on climate action? Are they going to let the US and China make the high-level climate deals without them? Why is the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel planning to skip the Summit, while UK Prime Minister Cameron hasn't confirmed his participation? Is it because the weak 2030 climate targets the European Union is about to agree on in October embarrass them?

Well, that can still be fixed.

So, Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Cameron, why don't you do your homework and come to NY with real commitments?

Nowhere else is the speed of climate change as dramatic as in the Arctic. Greenpeace will be coming to the Climate Summit fresh from bearing witness of the melting sea ice in this fragile part of the world, delivering a message to world leaders from millions of Arctic defenders. In addition, Greenpeace is taking part in arranging a massive climate march in New York, on the 21st of September.

Kaisa Kosonen is a Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Nordic.