|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL, RECEIVING HUMANITARIANS OF THE YEAR AWARD, SAYS INVESTMENT
IN CLEAN ENERGY HOLDS GREAT BENEFITS FOR PEOPLE, ENVIRONMENT, ‘BOTTOM LINE’
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, on accepting the United Nations Association (UNA)-New York Humanitarians of the Year Award, in New York yesterday, 23 October:
I am deeply honoured to accept this award on behalf of the United Nations.
I know that, through me, you are also paying tribute to all of the scientists, advocates and others who have done so much at the United Nations to advance the climate change agenda over the years. I offer deep appreciation to UNA- New York for this recognition.
The award is especially meaningful at such a critical time. Countries are scrambling to address the turmoil in financial markets. As we do so, we must not turn away from the climate challenge.
That would be a double blow. We would be failing to address one of the defining issues of our times. And we would miss out on the enormous benefits that we stand to gain in making the transition to a less carbon-intensive economy.
Present circumstances make it hard to talk about “smart money”. But many scientists and other experts believe fervently that clean energy will be the investment wave of the future, and that there are fortunes to be made by putting resources behind wind, solar, biomass and other renewables. Last year alone, this part of the energy sector attracted nearly $150 billion in investments. That was up 60 per cent from 2006.
We can reap great benefits if we act -- for people, for the environment and for the bottom line.
But if we don’t, if we dither and delay, if we are less than resolute, our planet will be poorer, more polluted, more prone to natural disasters and less stable.
Back in 1992, at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, a 12-year-old girl from Canada told the assembled delegates, and I quote, “I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.”
Her generation should not have to wait much longer for global leadership on this issue.
So I accept this award with determination to do all I can to advance the climate change negotiations. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol concludes at the end of 2012. Given the time needed for the ratification process, we must have a new agreement adopted in December 2009 in Copenhagen. That way, a successor agreement can be in place without any time lapse.
I am glad to say we have many partners in this effort.
Just last month, I met with the leaders of nearly two dozen major advertising companies, who launched a partnership to raise global awareness in support of our efforts to reach a climate change deal.
Just this week, representatives of more than 150 corporations -- signatories of the Caring for Climate initiative of the United Nations Global Compact -- gathered in Geneva to discuss new business solutions to the climate challenge.
I know that UNA- New York shares a commitment to environmental stewardship. Indeed, tonight you are also honouring Toray Industries. This is yet another indication of the growing role of corporations in addressing climate change.
The message is clear: with good partners and a long-term approach, we can create a safer, more prosperous and more peaceful planet for generations to come. I look forward to working with all of you towards that objective.
* *** *For information media • not an official record