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Ban Ki-moon Adresses Climate Change in Copenhagen

New York, Oct 26 2009 5:10PM

As just over one month remains before nations converge in Copenhagen to ‘seal the deal’ on a new climate change agreement, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has laid out his four benchmarks for success at the negotiations in the Danish capital.

Firstly, he wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times published yesterday, every country – developed and developing – must do all it can to slash emissions from all sources, including deforestation and shipping.

“A successful deal must strengthen the world’s ability to cope with an already changing climate,” Mr. Ban added, stressing that “support for adaptation is not only an ethical imperative; it is a smart investment in a more stable, secure world.”

Thirdly, any deal must be backed by funding to allow poorer countries to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Lastly, the Secretary-General wrote, nations must agree on an equitable global governance structure. “All countries must have a voice in how resources are deployed and managed. That is how trust will be built.”

Despite the gridlock at the last round of climate change negotiations held in Bangkok, Thailand, earlier this month, “the elements of a deal are on the table,” he underscored.

All that is needed to put them in place is political will, Mr. Ban said. “We need to step back from narrow national interest and engage in frank and constructive discussion in a spirit of global common cause.”

The leadership of the United States in this endeavour, he said, is vital, noting that he is encouraged by last week’s bipartisan initiative in the US Senate.

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“We cannot afford another period where the United States stands on the sidelines,” Mr. Ban emphasized, adding that an “indecisive or insufficiently engaged” US will result in unnecessary and unaffordable delays in tackling global warming.

With the last round of negotiations before the start of the Copenhagen conference kicking off next week in Barcelona, Spain, “we are now at a rather critical juncture,” Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, told reporters today in New York.

There is a flurry of activity in the world’s capitals, with this uptick in activity expected to continue during the final stretch before the December summit, he said. “This is a good development as it is only governments who can make the deal and bring us success in Copenhagen.”

When leaders assemble in Denmark, they have the ability to “deliver an agreement on a range of fast-track implementation measures for which credible resources are needed and which governments need to make available,” Mr. Pasztor stated.

The Secretary-General, he said, is serving as a “neutral broker” among all 192 UN Member States, pressing for an ambitious multilateral deal to ensure that global temperature increases remain within safe levels.


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