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Ban calls on European Union leaders to take urgent action on climate change

Ban calls on European Union leaders to take urgent action on climate change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed to leaders of the European Union (EU) the need to wrap up the bloc’s energy and climate package by the end of the year.

In letters to the leaders of the 27 EU members and the head of the European Commission (EC), Mr. Ban emphasized that this would serve as a positive signal to the international community – and developing countries in particular – before negotiations on an ambitious successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol are expected to conclude next December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The correspondence follows his talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and EC President José Manuel Barroso last week during the 12th Francophonie Summit in Québec City, Canada.

Michele Montas, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, told reporters that Mr. Ban commended the EU for its years of strong leadership on global warming, which includes its flagship climate and energy policy package.

“While he sympathized with EU members who may find it challenging to be as ambitious in such times of economic constraint and uncertainty, he suggested that EU’s forward-looking policy has the potential to deliver a clean economic growth, which will create millions of new jobs,” Ms. Montas said.

The Secretary-General underscored that clean industry and investment have proven to be of high quality and also offer long-term profits and returns.

“Thus, the current financial turmoil is not a justification for delaying action on climate change, but rather an opportunity to address both the financial and climate change crises that we face,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a new report on the partnership between the UN and the EC was presented to the President of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, today.

In the foreword to that publication, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro wrote that the two organizations worked together in more than 100 countries in all regions of the world last year, and she commended the EC for its wide-ranging support to the UN.

UN-EC collaboration has helped feed 48 million people, register 80 million voters, clear landmines from 50 million square metres of land and administer oral polio vaccines to 400 million children, the report noted.