Ban Ki-moon Calls For Political Leadership To Combat Climate Change
15 December 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the importance of political will and leadership in tackling the 'quintessential global threat' posed by climate change.
In a message to the Association of Caribbean States in Port-au-Prince (Haiti), on 13 December, Mr. Ban called for the international community to join forces to seek out "common solutions to common problems" like global warming.
At the UN climate change talks that wrapped up last week in Poznan, Poland, he had appealed for "bold, urgent steps" to address the issue. That event marks the half-way point in efforts to reach agreement on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding regime for reducing greenhouse gas emissions whose first commitment period ends in 2012.
The Secretary-General stressed that the region serves as a prime example of the key role played by nature and climate on all aspects of life.
"As our climate becomes more dangerous and unstable, so, too, will life on these islands," he said in the message.
The Caribbean is "particularly vulnerable" to the increasingly extreme weather events spurred by climate change, Mr. Ban said, stressing that efforts to help developing countries adapt to such fluctuations must be stepped up.
He also underscored the need to curb disaster risks, with over 90 per cent of all disaster deaths taking place in developing nations.
"The poorest – those least responsible for global warming – are likely to suffer first and worst from the consequences of climate change."
The Secretary-General said that 'greening' the global economy can help to pull the world out of the current economic crisis, with funding for lower-carbon projects potentially stimulating growth.
"Economic growth need not be tied to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions," he noted. "But to get from here to there, we need to harness political leadership from every sector of society and from every nation" to achieve a breakthrough at the UN climate change conference next year in Copenhagen, Denmark, where negotiations are slated to end.