UN official voices hope that upcoming climate talks spur action at highest levels

8 September 2009 – The high-level United Nations climate change summit later this month seeks to allow leaders to hold candid discussions on how to resolve obstacles in talks with fewer than 90 days left before the start of December’s conference in Denmark, an official with the world body said today.

The 22 September summit in New York “is intended to provide political momentum at the highest level to accelerate progress toward a deal in Copenhagen,” Janos Pasztor, Director of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Change Support Team, told reporters.

Only 15 days of negotiations remaining before conference in the Danish capital, where countries are expected to wrap up negotiations on a new agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he noted.

To date, the pace of progress of climate talks has been “much too slow,” Mr. Pasztor underscored, with Mr. Ban continually urging leaders to take more urgent measures to reach a “fair, equitable, comprehensive and effective” global pact.

All States are invited to Mr. Ban’s summit later this month, the official emphasized. “This is not just for eight countries or 20, but for 192,” including highly vulnerable States, large emitters and fast-emerging developing nations.

“We need a global solution for a global problem.”

The day-long event will comprise round-table discussions chaired by heads of State and government on “how we can move toward a lower emissions, climate resilient global economy,” he added.

The Secretary-General has just returned from a visit to the Arctic ice rim where he saw the devastation wrought by climate change first hand, voicing hope that all leaders could see the effects of global warming for themselves.

His trip “reminds us that addressing climate change is not optional or something that could be postponed indefinitely,” Mr. Pasztor said. “A failure to take action will have serious consequences, not just for polar bears in the Arctic, but for people on every continent and every country.”

Following his visit to the Arctic Circle, Mr. Ban exhorted nations to not waste time and ‘seal the deal’ in Copenhagen.

Speaking at the World Climate Conference in Geneva, he said that “our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss.”

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