Holding out for a 'perfect' deal at next month's climate change summit in Copenhagen could result in there being no agreement at all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today, calling on all States to get behind a deal that is as ambitious as possible but also has broad international support.
In an address to the Commonwealth summit meeting with small island developing States, held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Ban told participants that given their countries were on the frontline of the impact of climate change, it was vital that their voices were heard to try to achieve “a strong, equitable agreement” in the Danish capital.
“I know the cost of inaction far outweighs the costs of acting today,” he said. “I commend your call for deep emissions cuts in line with the science. And I support your call for scaled-up resources for urgent adaptation needs as well as mitigation.”
Without a deal at the summit, Mr. Ban said greenhouse gas emissions would continue to rise and the impact of climate change worldwide would become ever more severe.
A deal “must be as ambitious as possible. But to get a deal we need every country on board. We need you on board. The world needs your support at this critical moment.”
The United Nations Secretary-General said he recognized the concerns of many small island developing States, particularly about the need to set a long-term goal to keep global temperature increases as low as possible.
“Many refer to a 2-degree limit while for you, the most vulnerable countries, a safe level means staying below 1.5 degrees centigrade. That said, we face a simple reality: if we delay for perfection, we risk ending up with nothing – no agreement at all.”
Mr. Ban told participants that momentum for a deal in Copenhagen, where at least 80 world leaders are expected to attend, was strong and continuing to grow.
“The world has never before witnessed this level of political engagement on climate. We will not get a better chance any time soon.”
He emphasized that any deal reached in Copenhagen should deliver “immediate, practical results,” including the acceleration of financing of at least $10 billion a year to strengthen resilience and support mitigation measures against climate change in poorer and vulnerable countries.
“A deal that will spur action on all key areas of adaptation, mitigation, finance and governance. An ambitious deal that will set a firm deadline for a legally binding treaty as soon as possible in 2010. The stronger the agreement in Copenhagen, the quicker it can be transformed into a legal framework.”