UN's Ban Ki-Moon: 'Nature is Now Sick. We Must Listen'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Ascent climate change conference, May 4, 2014, United Arab Emirates. UN Photo/E. Debebe

UN's Ban Ki-Moon: 'Nature is Now Sick. We Must Listen'

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time"

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General urged world policymakers to do more to address the threat of climate change as negotiators attempt to forge a new global warming pact next year.

Speaking to hundreds of international delegates at the start of a climate gathering in Abu Dhabi, Ban Ki-moon warned that time is running out to reduce harmful emissions and that political leaders need to offer bold commitments to drive meaningful change.

Ban Ki-moon was in the United Arab Emirates capital to open a conference he organized to lay the groundwork for a climate summit he has called for world leaders in New York City this September 23rd which seeks to unite global efforts to fight global warming. Ban has asked governments of the world to bring new proposals to the New York City meeting. The Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting is an informal opportunity for countries to "put their cards on the table" and reveal new emission reduction targets and action plans.

Over 1,000 participants, including former US Vice President Al Gore and government ministers from around the world, are attending the May 4th and 5th Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting.

Ban said "I count on representatives of governments, the private sector and civil society who gathered here in Abu Dhabi to explore international and multi stakeholder initiatives with high potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening climate resilience."

Mr. Ban set out the nine key areas he has identified with the greatest potential for success. They include energy, cities and transport, finance, resilience, agriculture and short-lived climate pollutants.

He said that many of the solutions we need already exist. Many others are being rapidly developed.

"But we need to deploy them at a scale that matches the challenge. And we need to do it now, because we may not get a second chance," he warned, adding that "we are rapidly approaching dangerous thresholds. The longer we delay, the more we will pay."

At a Sunday afternoon press conference Moon said:

"The benefits of addressing climate change far outweigh the costs. But the longer we delay the more we will have to pay.

Time is against us. Nature will not wait. We can not negotiate with nature. Al Gore said it. The planet is sending us clearly a message that nature is now sick.

We must listen.

That is why I am saying to world leaders: Don't be on the losing side of history.

Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It's time to lead. It's time to lead now."

Ban Ki-moon hopes for a global agreement on climate change in 2015 when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is held in December 2015 in Paris. "I am confident that we will reach this ambitious goal," said Ban.

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