UN chief says current climate pledges insufficient (Update)

Nov 19, 2013 by Karl Ritter
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski shake hands prior to their meeting , in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Ban Ki-moon will attend the U.N. Climate Conference held in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged governments to put forth more ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions, saying "current pledges are simply inadequate."

Speaking to a U.N. climate conference in Warsaw, Ban said countries need to "set the bar higher" as they negotiate a new global climate agreement that is supposed to be adopted in Paris in 2015.

He asked countries to bring announcements on climate action to a special summit of world leaders in New York next September.

"From then on we will have only one year left before we meet in Paris. We do not have much time to waste," Ban told reporters later Tuesday.

Negotiators are trying to lay the groundwork for the 2015 agreement at the two-week conference, which is set to end Friday. The deal, which would take effect in 2020, is supposed to be applicable to all nations, not just the developed countries that were covered by the Kyoto emissions pact.

But key details remain to be worked out, including the legal status of the new agreement and how to address the different expectations on poor and rich countries that have been a guiding principle of the two-decade talks so far.

Countries also have different views on when to present their national targets for emissions cuts, with the European Union saying offers should be announced at Ban's summit and the U.S. suggesting early 2015 would make sense.

Phillipine delegate Yeb Sano speaks to the press about his global petition to delegates at the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Sano's petition was backed by over 600,000 people around the world calling for urgent action to prevent more super Typhoons like Haiyan. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

So far countries have only announced voluntary emissions targets until 2020.

Warning that people around the world now "face and fear the wrath of a warming planet," Ban urged delegates in Warsaw to think beyond their national interests.

"Plan not only for your country, but for your neighbor and your neighbor's neighbor," he said in his speech.

"Climate change threatens current and future generations," he said. "We need look no further than last week's catastrophe in the Philippines."

Phillipine delegate Yeb Sano second left, surrounded by supporters, speaks to the press about his global petition to delegates at the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Sano's petition was backed by more than 600,000 people around the world calling for urgent action to prevent more super Typhoons like Haiyan. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

The devastation by Typhoon Haiyan there has been cited as a call for action at the U.N. talks and a sign of things to come, if the world doesn't rein in emissions of the greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet.

Though single weather events cannot conclusively be linked to global warming, rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges. Some research suggests storms will become more powerful as oceans warm up, but there is still uncertainty in the projections.

Explore further: Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Typhoon Haiyan overshadows UN climate talks (Update)

Nov 11, 2013

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan cast a gloom over U.N. climate talks Monday as the envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

13 hours ago

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.