Ban urges leaders to show greater commitment to agreement on climate change

Millions of people depend on forests. Photo: IRIN/Charles Akena

20 September 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged world leaders to step up the international effort to find solutions to climate change, saying that governments needed to show greater commitment to achieving success at global negotiations on limiting emissions of greenhouse gases and strengthening adaptation measures.

Mr. Ban stressed that governments should build on agreements reached at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancún, Mexico, last year where progress was made on addressing deforestation, climate change adaptation, technology sharing and short- and long-term financing.

“Scores of countries are making impressive progress – from preserving forests to bolstering energy efficiency, from improving disaster preparedness to promoting greener urban planning,” Mr. Ban said, addressing the Leaders’ Dialogue on Climate Change on the eve of the High-level Session of the General Assembly.

“They do this because it is good for their economies and good for the health and well-being of their people. In every case, the key ingredient for success is not money or technology, though clearly these can help. The crucial ingredient is leadership,” said the Secretary-General.

He called for a clear plan on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, an addition to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that contains legally binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and whose first commitment period is due to expire next year.

Mr. Ban pointed out that the current climate change mitigation pledges represented only 60 per cent of what is needed to have a minimum chance of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“We must do better – and soon. Governments need to dramatically increase their level of ambition. Developed countries must take the lead in this effort, but all countries must do their part,” he said.

He told the leaders that he was counting on their commitment to agreement at the Conference of Parties to UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, later this year, and at the Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil next year.

“I appeal to you; help us to achieve success in Durban. Use every ounce of your experience, skills, and influence to advance action on climate change. Help us defend the science that shows we are destabilizing our climate and stretching planetary boundaries to a perilous degree,” said the Secretary-General.

“Help us to identify the new alliances – among public officials, business, civil society and faith communities – that will make sustainability the rallying point for action in the 21st century. Together, we can build a low-carbon, more sustainable economy – one that can protect the most vulnerable and result in a cleaner, safer, healthier world for all,” he added.


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