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Expectations High For Climate Change Breakthrough


Global expectations high for climate change breakthrough -- Ban Ki-moon

The world is counting on a breakthrough at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told delegates at the summit, calling the fight against global warming "the moral challenge of our generation."

In a speech delivered on Wednesday morning in the South-East Asian nation, at the opening of the Conference's high-level segment, he said that "what the world expects from Bali -- from all of you -- is an agreement to launch negotiations towards a comprehensive climate change agreement."

Mr. Ban underscored the importance of creating a road map to tackle climate change and a timeline to produce a new agreement by 2009 so that it can enter into force after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"Let us turn the climate crisis into a climate compact," he said, informing the delegates that they have been given a "clear charge" by the world to produce a breakthrough.

"Not only are the eyes of the world upon us -- more important, succeeding generations depend on us. We cannot rob our children of their future."

Climate change affects those least equipped to cope and those least responsible the hardest, the Secretary-General pointed out.

"We have an ethical obligation to right this injustice," he noted. "We have a duty to protect the most vulnerable."

The Secretary-General urged developed countries to continue taking the lead in slashing emissions, while developing nations need incentives to curb their own release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

"Together, we can spur a new era of green economics, an era of truly sustainable development based on clean technology and a low-emission technology," he declared.

According to scientists, creative solutions can result in both lowered emissions and economic growth, Mr. Ban said, as the "costs of inaction -- in ecological, human and financial terms -- far exceed the costs of action now."

Acknowledging that concluding a new climate change regime will not be easy, the Secretary-General pledged the world body's support through the negotiating period and assistance in implementing agreements reached.

"Every UN agency, fund and programme is committed," he told the gathering of more than 130 government ministers and six heads of State. "We are determined to be a part of the answer to climate change."

Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the UN officials and civilians who lost their lives in the deadly blasts that rocked Algiers, Algeria, and called on the perpetrators of the "outrageous attacks" to be brought to justice. "These cowardly attacks cannot be justified under any circumstances," he said.

ENDS

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