Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– U.S. President Barack Obama will speak to world leaders on climate change during a special U.N. summit in New York on September 22 on the eve of the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

“The nations of the world are working hard right now to negotiate a new international agreement to combat climate change,” U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James F. Moriarty said in a statement on Thursday.

The envoy also said climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.  “Already its impacts are apparent and consequences severe.  The science sends a simple and stark message: all countries must work together to combat climate change, and the time for action is now,” he added.

In Bangladesh, the U.S. government is promoting clean energy by partnering with the local non-governmental organization (NGO) – Grameen Shakti – to increase access to renewable energy sources in rural areas.  

The U.S. government, through USAID, is promoting solar energy, fuel efficient stoves and biogas to reduce the use of imported petroleum products and deforestation, the ambassador said, adding that this reduces costs and improves air quality.  

It is estimated that by 2012 about 500,000 solar home systems will be installed in remote areas, providing a source of clean energy to three million people.  

“In addition, the U.S. government is supporting the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission to promote professionalism, accountability and transparency which will attract investment into clean energy generation,” he added.   

He said the U.S. government is helping Bangladesh conserve its tropical forest resources to mitigate the impact of climate change as well as to empower poor rural communities to manage the resources.

“The U.S. is clear in its intent to secure a strong international agreement, and I am confident that together we can meet the climate change challenge,” the envoy added.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-18September09-12:31 am (BST)