Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the
United States to take a leading role in forging a new international
pact to combat global warming, warning that the consequences of failure
outweigh the cost of tackling climate change.
“No country is more important than the United States in resolving this
climate change issue,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Washington D.C.
yesterday after meeting with congressional leaders ahead of the United
Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen next month.
“All eyes of the world are looking to the United States and to this
august body, the US Senate,” he said at the media briefing, flanked by
US Senators John Kerry, Richard Lugar and Joe Lieberman.
Highlighting that in less than a month world leaders are slated to
gather in Copenhagen, Mr. Ban said they must conclude “a robust, global
agreement that can serve as a foundation for a climate treaty.”
In Copenhagen, governments are expected to negotiate a successor to the
Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 pact – part of a larger UN climate change
treaty – which has strong, legally binding measures committing 37
industrialized States to cutting emissions by an average of 5 per cent
against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.
“From what I heard today, there is great support in the Senate for
action on climate change,” said Mr. Ban. “But for some, there are
lingering doubts about whether we can afford to take action during this
hard economic crisis.”
Acknowledging that there is a price to pay in battling climate change,
Mr. Ban stressed that the costs are insignificant compared with the
cost of not taking action.
“Inaction will mean a weakened economic recovery, a loss of global
competitiveness, increased global instability and further human
suffering,” said Mr. Ban. “A global agreement on the other hand will
unleash investments that will do more than any single other action
could do to jumpstart and sustain global economic recovery.”
Mr. Ban voiced appreciation for the US Government, particularly
President Barack Obama, in showing their initiative, leadership and
commitment in addressing a climate change bill, as well as for Mr.
Obama signaling a willingness to participate in Copenhagen.