Doha, Qatar –Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said countries are in a race against time to stay below the threshold of 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels that will avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“Let us be under no illusion. This is a crisis, a threat to us all, our economies, our security and the well-being of our children and those who will come after. The danger signs are all around,” he said at the start of the high-level session of the United Nations Climate Change conference on Tuesday.
Referring to recent international reports from the WMO, UNEP and the World Bank which warned about historic emission highs and rising temperatures, the UN chief called on countries to act with urgency to address climate change which is essential to sustainable development.
On the negotiations that are into the second week, Ban said he hoped for the continuation on 1 January 2013 of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a global, binding climate agreement which commits industrialised countries to cut emissions.
With fast-start financing expiring at the end of the year, developed countries must also give clear indication of scaled-up climate financing which will be commensurate of mobilizing US$100 billion a year by 2020 from public and private funding, he told delegates from over 190 countries.
Institutions to support mitigation and adaptation by developing countries including the Green Climate Change Fund and the Climate Technology Centre and Network should be fully equipped ad effective.
Ban also called on countries to demonstrate that negotiations on a global and legally binding instrument will remain on track and that governments show how they intend to act on the gap between mitigation pledges and what is required to achieve the 2 degrees target.
“The gap can be bridged but time is not on our side, “he said.
President of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić said based on the urgency of climate change, he intends to schedule a high-level thematic debate on the subject of climate change, green energy and water sustainability during the resumption of the 67th session.
“It will aim at increasing political awareness and support for the benefits of embracing the paradigm shift to renewable, low-carbon energy systems, “he said.
Stating that the window of opportunity to prevent the effects of climate change from spiraling out of control is closing, Jeremić said countries must achieve the breakthrough to leave the world in a better shape.
Climate change must become a core national interest of every UN member state and should become embedded in the worldview of all who formulate and execute foreign policy to assume its rightful place in the heat of international relations in the 21st century.
“I personally believe we’re dealing here with a threat to the future of our planet that is rivaled on its cataclysmic effects only by thermonuclear conflict,” the UN General Assembly president said.
Linda Hutchinson-Jafar is Editor of Earth Conscious Magazine