"I really wanted to have him participate in the climate change summit meeting," Ban said at a news conference Tuesday. But he noted that Modi would be addressing the General Assembly September 27 "even though he will not be able to participate in climate summit meeting, per se",
About 120 heads of state or government -- but not the top leadership of India, China and Russia, three nations with crucial roles in dealing with climate change -- are scheduled to attend the meeting next Tuesday.
Calling it "the defining issue of our times", Ban has made climate change the centerpiece of this year's UN General Assembly session.
"The Climate Summit that I am convening one week from today has two goals: to mobilise political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement next year in Paris; and second to generate ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience."
To mobilise popular support for the cause, Ban announced that actor Leonardo DiCaprio would address the opening of the summit. He said he was appointing DiCaprio the UN Messenger of Peace for climate change, adding, "His global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge."
The summit is expected to help along the process of crafting an international treaty on combating climate change at a UN conference in Paris next year. Ban said that there would noy be any negotiations on the pact at next week's summit, "but, whatever agreement or
understanding will be made here, will be reflected in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) negotiation process."
Ban called for "a firm commitment that we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that we will be able to contain the global temperature rise within two degrees centigrade".
Another goal would be to mobilise financial support, including Green Climate Fund, for which, he said, "I expect that many countries' leaders will announce that their bold and ambitious target with some financial support".
In the run-up to the climate change summit, a People's Climate March is scheduled to be held in New York.
Ban said, "I will link arms with those marching for climate action. We stand with them on the right side of this key issue for our common future."