UN chief: Climate talks moving at ‘a snail’s pace’

UN chief: Climate talks moving at ‘a snail’s pace’
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International negotiations on curbing climate change are moving too slowly, but the “stars are aligned” for a deal at a year-end summit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday. 

“The negotiation pace is so slow, far too slow. I said it is moving at a snail’s pace,” Ban told reporters in New York, noting that there are only ten formal negotiating days left before December’s climate change conference in Paris. 

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At the same time, Ban said he thinks “the stars are aligned more than ever before” for a climate deal at the conference. 

“The governments, business CEOs, civil society, and faith groups, communities, they are all as one now,” he said. “It is a matter of our political will and diplomatic skill, how to reconverge all the wishes and expectations of the international community in one single universal ambitious agreement in Paris. That is our goal.”

Major countries like the United States and the European Union nations have announced their greenhouse gas emissions targets ahead of this winter’s climate talks. The U.S. has pledged to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. 

The world’s largest emitter, China, had previously said it would aim to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 before ramping them down, but Chinese officials are expected to announce an even more aggressive target within the next few days. 

The country is looking to the European Union to help “establish a fair, reasonable, win-win global climate governance system,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in Brussels on Monday, Reuters reports.

“2015 is a year for global action,” Ban said on Monday. “As we usher in a new era of sustainable development, this climate change agreement should guide us for the coming at least 15 to 20 years.”

Ban also praised Pope Francis’s climate change encyclical as “very valuable moral and spiritual strength to our continuing efforts.”

"He was suggesting that the international community, led by the United Nations, should address this issue as soon as possible," he said.