The eyes of the world are on world leaders gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, calling on nations to ‘seal the deal’ on an ambitious new climate change agreement for the sake of humanity.
“Never has the world united on such a scale,” Mr. Ban told the more than 100 heads of State and government, including United States President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the landmark United Nations conference that is scheduled to wrap up today in the Danish capital.
“We are closer than ever to the world’s first truly global agreement to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the Secretary-General said.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050.
With just hours remaining to overcome outstanding issues, Mr. Ban called on nations to exercise their conscience to work in concert to clinch a new agreement.
“Now is the time again for common sense, compromise and courage,” he underlined. “It will be your legacy for all time.”
Yesterday, he acknowledged that talks have been proceeding slowly, but expressed optimism that a new agreement will be reached, with all the major players having made important commitments for mitigation and all of the key financial elements needed having been put on the table.
Mr. Ban also welcomed yesterday’s announcement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that her country would help to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to assist developing nations combat climate change.
“I am sure it will have a very important political dynamic in our current negotiations,” he said, noting that he has issued repeated calls for leaders to make firm mid- and longer-term pledges beyond the commitment made to provide $10 billion a year until 2012.
Negotiations resumed yesterday in Copenhagen after they had stalled over divisions between States, and the Secretary-General has held talks with many countries and leaders on the sidelines of the talks as part of his efforts to overcome the divisions.