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Act now, Ban urges climate delegates

by Chris Bathembu
on 07 Dec 2011
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

As the pressure to address climate change continues to mount at COP17, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned on Tuesday that the world was in danger.

Both Ban and President Jacob Zuma addressed the high level segment of COP17 where ministers and Heads of State have to thrash out solutions to the current outstanding issues, including the finalisation of a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet is at stake. Science is clear - we are at a point of no return, the world is looking at you for leadership," Ban said.

He also reminded delegates to be "realistic" about a breakthrough in Durban, citing a difficult financial climate currently facing world countries.

"We must be realistic about expectations in Durban; a comprehensive agreement may be beyond our reach for now due to grave economic troubles in many countries."

But none of these difficulties should stop negotiators from finding a long lasting solution in Durban to build on the progress made in Cancun last year.

Ban said while the UN understood the difficult financial position in most countries, the world could not accept 'no' for an answer in Durban.

"Let us not alter, let us not allow our deliberations to go to waste."

On the future of the Kyoto Protocol, Ban said Durban needed to take a decisive step as time "is not on our side".

The first commitment period of the 1997 treaty is coming to an end next year and parties need to sign up for a new deal if developed countries are to continue cutting their carbon emissions.

In an impassioned speech, Zuma told the gathering of more than 190 environmental ministers that they needed to show the world that parties were willing to address problems in a practical manner and were willing to put national interests aside.

"We need to use the high level segment to define our destiny as Durban remains a decisive moment for many issues... Let us remember that the globe is more important than all of us," Zuma said.

If the issue of the Kyoto Protocol was not resolved in Durban, the other matters would remain difficult to solve.

For Durban to succeed, real action on adaptation, mitigation and the Green Climate Fund was needed, said Zuma.

"Developing countries demand assurances that given the current economic climate, they will be assisted to mitigate the impacts of climate change." - BuaNews

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