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UN chief urges all countries to rise to the challenges of climate change

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Published     20 Nov , 2013  7:30 am   Updated   2 Apr , 2016 at 10:00 am   369 views.

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday lamented “insufficient” emission-cutting actions and criticized some rich countries for backtracking in fighting global warming.

“I am deeply concerned that the scale of our actions is still insufficient to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels,” Ban said.

Ban made the remarks in his speech to the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, which started last Monday to pave the way for a new global climate deal setting post-2020 targets on emission cuts.

The UN chief urged all countries to rise to the challenges of climate change with “wisdom, urgency and resolve” and expected “a steep climb” ahead if they want to reach a new global climate pact by 2015.

Ban called upon those countries that have not yet done so to swiftly ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in Doha, and to construct an action agenda to meet the climate challenge.

“Current pledges are simply inadequate. Here, too, we must set the bar higher,” the UN chief added.

He also highlighted the importance of making sure that adequate fund is in place to mitigate the negative effects of global warming.

“I call on you to step up on finance, including long-term finance and the Green Climate Fund (GCF),” as progress on such funding can fuel confidence and scale up action on the ground, he said.

Ban expected the climate change conference in Warsaw to build “a crucial stepping stone” for possible global climate agreement in 2015.

The UN chief also invited heads of states and governments, along with business and finance leaders, to attend the Climate Summit scheduled to be held in New York on September 23 next year.

CRITICIZING SOME DEVELOPED COUNTRIES FOR BACKTRACKING

The UN chief Ban also criticized out at some developed countries for backtracking in fighting climate change.

He lashed out at some rich countries “which are supposed to be taking leadership” but are actually “backtracking” in battling global warming, during an earlier event of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw.

Without singling out specific countries, Ban said what some countries did are “quite disappointing,” and urged them to “take urgent action,” pointing to the recent devastating typhoon as an alarm call.

The comments are seen as a response to decisions by some developed countries to backtrack in their efforts to curb carbon emissions.

The Japanese government last Friday decided to cut emissions by 3.8 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, claiming the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami had forced it to close some of its nuclear plants.

The new target, a reversal of its previous target of a 25-percent reduction, represents a 3-percent rise from the U.N. benchmark year levels of 1990, and has been widely criticized during the conference.

Referring to the much-anticipated Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was agreed upon at the UN climate talks in Cancun in 2010, the UN chief also urged developed countries to honor their promises to help poorer countries to address global warming.

Under the GCF deal, developed countries should provide 100 billion U.S. dollars to poorer countries by 2020 to help them cope with carbon emissions and adapt to climate change. However, the promise has been largely unfulfilled.

Ban expressed his “serious concerns” over whether rich countries can honor their promises, saying, “I am urging you to do more.”(PNA/Xinhua)

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