"Huge consequences" of climate change, Secretary-General's remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations12 February 2013
11 February 2013 – Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Council of foreign relations, turning to what he called “the gathering threat of climate change,” said scientists have long sounded the alarm, and stressed the potential consequences of climate change. Those include “a downward global spiral of extreme weather and disaster,” along with development reversals, increased displacement, aggravated tensions over resources and destabilization of fragile states.
Yet greenhouse emissions are rising faster than ever. Despite the dire possibilities, he said. “Too many leaders seem content to keep climate change at arm’s length, and in its policy silo. However, too few grasp the need to bring the threat to the centre of global security, economic and financial management."
“It is time to move beyond spending enormous sums addressing the damage, and to make the investments that will repay themselves many times over,” he said, noting the potential of the renewable industry to do that and to spur the world economy, as proposed in his Sustainable Energy for All initiative.“
A global climate change agreement would give us the engine we need to advance us decisively on this path,” he stressed, welcoming US President Barack Obama’s “new resolve” to address climate change and give it high political priority. “We must limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees. We are far from there, and even that is enough to cause dire consequences. If we continue along the current path, we are close to a 6 degree increase”
Calling for government and business leaders to mobilize the political will for a global, legally binding climate change agreement by 2015, he said. “World leaders have pledged to reach an agreement, and we must hold them to that promise.”Urging world leaders to strengthen and utilize the United Nations in facing both urgent challenges and others facing the world, he warned, however, that “International machinery does not operate on its own. Hardware requires programmers.” And “We need national leaders who think globally. We need a stronger sense of collective responsibility. And we need the United States,” he said.
“Some countries are embracing the transition to a low-carbon, low-emissions future. They are adding electrical capacity through renewable energy – and avoiding the need to build new coal power plants. The renewable energy industry created 1.5 million new jobs last year. The costs of wind power continue to fall. With the right enabling public policies, close to 80 per cent of the world’s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century”
"This is not utopian, or science fiction; it is current fact". "My Sustainable Energy for All initiative aims to support and expand such efforts. The green economy is an essential insurance policy – an investment in a safer future for all”.
“A global climate change agreement would give us the engine we need to advance us decisively on this path”“I welcome President Obama’s new resolve to address climate change and give it high political priority” he said. “I am reaching out to government and business leaders to mobilize the capital and the political will for a global, legally binding climate change agreement by 2015. World leaders have pledged to reach an agreement, and we must hold them to that promise”.