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Ban Ki-moon mourns death of pioneering climate change scientist

Ban Ki-moon mourns death of pioneering climate change scientist

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to Bert Bolin – a pioneering scientist on global warming and co-founder of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – who has passed away at the age of 82.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban commended Professor Bolin’s “immeasurable contribution, not only in being one of the first to recognize the consequences of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases decades ago, but also in alerting the world to what was required by Governments to protect our planet from the impact.”

Mr. Ban said he is moved that last month, Professor Bolin was able to see the IPCC be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the start of negotiations at the historic Bali climate change conference.

“The Secretary-General joins Professor Bolin’s colleagues in the IPCC and around the world in giving thanks for his work, and in resolving to build on his legacy.”

Also expressing his condolences, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that Professor Bolin put the issue on the global political agenda.

Without his contributions, negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol might not have been launched, Mr. de Boer said.

“The world owes him a great deal for helping to get this process going,” the Executive Secretary added. “We can best honor his legacy by ensuring that we deliver on the Bali promise: to develop and agree a comprehensive global response to climate change by the end of 2009.”

Mr. de Boer recalled that Professor Bolin’s work in preparing the IPCC’s first and second Assessment Reports led to the start of negotiations and ultimately to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

Professor Bolin, who served as the first chairman of the IPCC from 1988 to 1998, actively communicated the dangers posed by climate change, Mr. de Boer noted. “As an eminent organizer and leader, he was instrumental in establishing crucial links between scientists and decision-makers.”