"The UN plays an important role by facilitating a global negotiation process," Steiner said. "But what we are also seeing here now is cities with their mayors, businesses with entrepreneurs, insurance companies and banks… an enormous amount of actors that are now beginning to look into a low-carbon economy."
Steiner, a UN under-secretary and head of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), said that such local action created momentum that made governments "feel more conformable to actually engage."
He added that the United Nations welcomed every country that was ready to shoulder its share of the climate change efforts, giving any nation from the United States to small island nations a seat at the climate talks.
The climate change debate at the ongoing Paris talks revolves around how to act most effectively and fairly, with no one any longer doubting the need for urgent action, the UN's environmental chief told Sputnik on Tuesday.
"The question now is what is a fair agreement, how much can the ambition of the industrialized world lead the effort, and how much can financing for developing countries accelerate their efforts," UN Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said.
Steiner, who is also under-secretary of the United Nations, said the question was no longer whether anyone should do something or not.
"Everybody has committed by now to act on climate change. What we are talking about now is the nature of the agreement that is more about what is just, fair, equitable, and how quickly we can move forward," he noted.
The UN Climate Change Conference, underway in Paris, began its second and final week of negotiations on Monday, with delegations from almost 200 countries seeking to work out a binding and fair deal on how to curb global warming.