Ban Urges Strong Message from UN Climate Summit
Author: Patrick Worsnip
"The science has made it quite clear," Ban told a news
conference. "We have been feeling the impact of global warming
already ... We have resources and we have technologies. The
only (thing) lacking is political will.
"Before it is too late we must take action."
The UN chief said he had been encouraged by the response
to the summit he has called in New York for Sept. 24, with some
80 heads of state and government among 154 speakers listed so
far. The event will precede the annual UN General Assembly
gathering of world leaders.
The New York summit will not be a forum for negotiations,
which will be left to a UN-sponsored meeting of environment
ministers in December in Bali, Indonesia, but Ban said it could
provide crucial impetus.
"What I want to achieve at the end of this particular event
is a strong political message at the leaders' level for the
climate change negotiations in Bali," he said.
Diplomats hope the Bali meeting will agree to start talks
to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the only worldwide
deal on cutting carbon emissions blamed for global warming. The
pact expires in 2012.
"We need to move fast and reach a bold agreement by 2009,
so that it can enter into force by the end of 2012," Ban said.
"We must not leave any vacuum after the expiration of the Kyoto
Ban said he saw no clash between the New York summit and a
gathering of the world's biggest greenhouse-gas emitting
countries that US President George W. Bush has convened in
Washington on Sept. 27-28, just days later.
"I think the main objectives and principles and goals we
are working are all the same," he said. "While we welcome
individual measures and initiatives by any countries, all these
measures and initiatives should should fit into UN efforts.
"I am encouraged that President Bush is also committed to
this UN negotiating process," he said, adding that Bush had
given him this assurance at a Group of Eight summit in June.
Ban also played down disputes between developed and
developing countries over who should bear the brunt of carbon
"The main goal and objective at this time is, rather than
debating more on this difference of opinions, the whole
international community must act together," he said.