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UN Climate Change Conference Tests Collective Will

UN Climate Change Conference is 'test of our collective will' - Ban Ki-moon

As he prepares to depart for the landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged world leaders at the meeting - which he characterized as a "test of our collective will" - to negotiate an agenda to create a new deal to tackle global warming.

"Our ultimate goal is a comprehensive agreement on climate change that all nations can embrace," he told reporters in New York, voicing hope that the Conference will yield a "roadmap to a better future."

Mr. Ban, who is leaving for Bali on Saturday, pointed out that it is crucial to negotiate a new agreement to address the problem by 2009 so that it can enter into force in 2013 when the Kyoto Protocol, the current regime, expires.

"Difficult as this path may be, we have no choice," he said.

Transforming the global economy into an eco-friendly one provides an opportunity to jump-start growth and development, not hinder it, the Secretary-General - who has identified climate change as one of his top priorities - observed.

The latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ) - a recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize - estimated that curbing serious global warming would cost as little as 0.1 per cent of GDP over the next 30 years.

It also reported that existing technologies offering at least a 10 per cent rate of return on investment - ranging from energy-efficient lightbulbs to alternative fuel sources - can slash the grown in energy use in the coming decades by half.

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"We want to unleash the power of markets, capital, innovation and entrepreneurship in our fight against global warming," Mr. Ban said.

He underscored to reporters today his efforts to jump-start efforts to combat climate change, ranging from the largest-ever high-level meeting on the issue in September to his recent visits to Antarctica, the Amazon, the Andes, Lake Chad and Central Africa to witness the problem first-hand.

The Secretary-General said that he has also been meeting and making phone calls to world leaders, including President George W. Bush of the United States, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia.

"Now comes Bali, our biggest moment yet," the Secretary-General said.


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