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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

21 December 2009


Opening comments at press encounter on the Outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

I returned yesterday afternoon after attending theUnited Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

On Saturday morning in Copenhagen I had a press conference with your colleagues who were attending Copenhagen.

Today I am pleased to meet with you, basically to answer your questions which you may have. The last time I didn’t have much time to answer questions. But I have also a Security Council briefing at ten o’clock on very important African issues.

Let me first of all say the Conference was a success.

Among the conference decisions, the Copenhagen Accord marks a significant step forward.

First, it commits countries to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

It also says that they will review this commitment in 2015 to take account of new scientific evidence. I understand that the IPCC is going to try to release their fifth assessment report in 2014.

Second, the Accord includes mid-term mitigation targets by developed countries and mid-term mitigation actions by developing countries.

Again, this is an advance.

Third, countries have agreed on the importance of acting to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

This means we have finally brought the source of nearly one fifth of global emissions into the emerging climate regime.

Fourth, the Accord agrees to provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable to cope with climate change.

Fifth, the deal is backed by money and the means to deliver it. You know that already $30 billion have been committed until 2012, and after that $100 billion annually up to 2020.

I urge countries to ensure that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund becomes fully operational as soon as possible.

I urge all governments to formally sign on to the Copenhagen Accord by registering their support through the UNFCCC.

The faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can build.

The decisions made in Copenhagen fulfil in large part the benchmarks for success that I had laid down at the September 2009 Summit meeting here in UN headquarters.

Admittedly, they do not yet meet the scientific bottom line to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But without the commitments in the Copenhagen Accord, we could be facing the real prospect of temperature rises of up to 6 degrees Celsius.

During the coming months I will continue my work with world leaders to increase their level of ambition.

I will urge all to implement their commitments as soon as possible.

And I will encourage them to directly engage in achieving a global legally binding climate change treaty in 2010.

Their hands-on involvement helped to seal the deal in Copenhagen.

It demonstrates that world leaders not only appreciate the importance of tackling climate change but that they are prepared to act.

It is also notable that countries that had previously stayed on the periphery of the Kyoto process are now at the centre of global climate action.

As we move forward we will examine the lessons of the Copenhagen Conference.

We will consider how to improve the negotiations process.

We will also look at how to encompass the full context of climate change and development in the negotiations, both substantively and institutionally.

Early next year, I will establish a high-level panel on development and climate change to strategically address such issues.

While I am satisfied that we sealed a deal, I am aware that the outcome of the Copenhagen conference, including the Copenhagen Accord, did not go as far as many would have hoped.

Nonetheless they represent a beginning - an essential beginning.

We have taken an important step in the right direction.

Thank you very much.