UN chief urges 'faster' action on climate change

UN chief urges 'faster' action on climate change
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The head of the United Nations urged world leaders this week to go “much farther and much faster” with their plans to combat climate change. 

Speaking to G20 leaders in Turkey on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged the carbon emissions proposals submitted ahead of an international climate conference in Paris won’t be enough to effectively slow down the pace of global warming. 

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“The official negotiation period is almost over,” Ban told G20 leaders, a group that includes President Obama.  

“The only way to bridge the remaining gaps is for you yourself to engage, with a clear grasp of what is at stake, and give the necessary instructions to your negotiators. Success in Paris truly rests in your hands.”

World leaders will meet in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 to work on a climate deal. Obama will attend the first two days of the conference.

Ban said a final climate deal should lead to a “comprehensive, long-term vision” of creating a lower-emission economy around the world. He said developed countries should lead the way in reducing emissions and providing funding for developing countries do the same. 

The deal should be “credible,” he said, and “must include regular, short cycles for governments to review and strengthen commitments in line with science and in response to rapidly escalating climate impacts.” The call is similar to one French and Chinese officials committed to earlier this month. 

“There is strong emerging consensus that this should be done every five years, with the first review coming before 2020,” Ban said. “Current ambition must be the floor not the ceiling for future efforts.”

Ban said nothing about the legal status of a final climate deal, a contentious point for American and European officials.

Instead, he urged G20 leaders to be “ambitious” in negotiating a final deal between now and the end of the talks in December. 

“The world expects you, as leaders of the G20, to provide ambitious political guidance that will help the negotiators to complete their work in Paris,” he said. “Tell your negotiators that now is the time for compromise and consensus. I urge you to look beyond national horizons and work in the common interest.”