Momentum for climate deal strong and growing, Ban tells Commonwealth

27 November 2009
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark at press conference

The momentum for a deal at next month's United Nations climate change summit is strong and growing, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging world leaders to make the extra push to achieve a firm foundation for a legally binding treaty as early as possible in 2010.

“My message to you today is simple: stay focused, stay committed, come to Copenhagen, and seal a deal,” Mr. Ban said in a keynote address to Commonwealth heads of government, at their meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

“A deal that is ambitious, a deal that is equitable, a deal that satisfies the demands of science,” he added.

With only nine days to go, he and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Denmark, which is hosting the 7 to 18 December conference, are working to get every country on board towards a new agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some 80 world leaders have pledged to attend the summit, and more are signing up daily.

“The momentum is strong – and it continues to grow,” Mr. Ban told the gathering, which is the last international meeting before Copenhagen.

Despite several rounds of pre-summit negotiations, core issues – including mitigation targets from industrialized countries and financing to assist developing countries – remain unresolved and have dimmed the hopes of achieving a legally binding successor pact to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reduction treaty whose first commitment period expires in 2012.

Mr. Ban noted that every country, large or small, has an important role, and each week brings new commitments and pledges – from industrialized countries, emerging economies, and developing countries.

Among others, he cited the voluntary plans to significantly reduce emissions announced recently by Brazil, Indonesia and the Republic of Korea, as well as the “ambitious” pledges made by Japan, Norway and the European Union.

He called for strong commitments in five areas: ambitious mid-term mitigation targets from industrialized countries, ambitious mitigation actions by developing countries that limit the growth of their emissions to below 'business as usual,' ambitious adaptation framework for all countries, financing and technology to support developing countries with all of the above, and a transparent and equitable governance structure to manage and deploy these resources that gives all countries a voice.

Stressing that financing is key, he said that in the short term, the developed world will need to provide at least $10 billion dollars in fast-track funding annually over the next three years. This will go towards jump-starting low-emission growth in developing countries, limiting deforestation and financing immediate adaptation measures.

More substantial funding, scaled up to the needs, will be needed over the medium term, he added.

“An agreement in Copenhagen that clearly addresses these elements will be a success.”

Speaking later to journalists, Mr. Ban said he had been encouraged by what we had heard from leaders in Port of Spain, and he urged even more to attend the Copenhagen summit.


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