UN Secretary Urges Countries to Step Up Their Actions on Climate

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (UPI) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders Tuesday to step up their actions on climate change and preserving the planet for future generations.

“Climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical and economic issue of the 21st century,” he said during the U.N. summit on climate change in New York. “It rewrites the global equation for development, peace and security.”

The climate change summit at U.N. Headquarters is the largest ever on the issue, with more than 100 heads of state and government officials attending, Ban said in a release. The climate change meeting is about 80 days in advance of a global summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, where countries are expected to negotiate a agreement to curb greenhouse gasses that would succeed to the Kyoto Protocol once it expires in 2012.

Ban said the time is now for developed and developing nations to step up their anti-emission initiatives.

“All countries must do more — now,” he said.

While not a negotiating session, the summit will allow world leaders to discuss climate change issues in a roundtable setting with the aim of finding a common understanding to move forward, Ban said.

In remarks to the gathering, U.S. President Barack Obama said world leaders must respond to climate change boldly and swiftly, or else future generations will inherit “an irreversible catastrophe.”

“The security and stability of each nation and all peoples — our prosperity, our health, our safety — are in jeopardy,” Obama said. “And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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