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UN Secretary-General Urges Economic Powers To Demonstrate Leadership

At an afternoon press briefing following the opening of the High-Level segment of the Climate Change Conference, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of adopting a Bali roadmap for a future climate agreement. “We work for success, we don’t work for failure. We must succeed at this Bali meeting. We must be able to launch negotiations for an international agreement by 2009 with a clear agenda,” he declared.Ban said that science had made it quite clear; all that was lacking was political will. He added, “I would really urge the major economic powers to exercise flexibility and to demonstrate their leadership.”

The Secretary-General acknowledged that the two-year timeline to conclude negotiations was tight, given the scale and complexity of the task at hand. “We really need to expedite our process of negotiation,” he urged, adding that he would “spare no effort” in facilitating this. He said that failure to exercise political leadership and act now would be tantamount to betraying both our planet and our children.On the contentious subject of emission reduction targets, Mr. Ban said that agreement on specific targets need only take place at a later stage in the negotiations. He hoped, however, that delegations would be guided by the clear scientific evidence. “It is amazing that two thousand five hundred members of the IPCC have spoken on unequivoical terms, in one voice, and this should be respected,” he said.

Mr. Ban stressed that due to their “historical responsibilities” with regard to climate change, industrialized countries must take the lead in tackling the problem. He said they also had the necessary technological and financial capacity to do so, and that this capacity should be made availabe as an incentive to developing countries.

In reponse to a question about the position of the U.S. regarding the scope of a future climate agreement, Mr. Ban said that he had been in regular contact with U.S. government leaders and had urged them to exercise flexibility as the world’s largest economic power. He said It was encouraging that the U.S. supported the ongoing UNFCCC process.

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