UN Secretary General warns against failure to act on climate change


United Nations : U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon warned Friday in San Francisco that there will be grave consequences if all countries do not work together to tackle climate change as an issue to be addressed within the framework of the world body.

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“I am not a scientist, I am not an economist, but if you ask any scientist or economist they will tell you the science is clear, the economics are clear,� he told a breakfast meeting with staff of the San Francisco Chronicle, according to a press statement issued by the United Nations.

“They say action should have been taken yesterday, but it may not be too late if we take it today.�

Ban also said that the international community had reached “almost the saturation point� on the issue, which the United Nations “takes very seriously.�

He also emphasized the damage that climate change is inflicting on developing countries, where nations do not have the resources as they do in developing states to combat the problem.

“It is ironic that those people who have least (contributed) to this cause will have the brunt of serious responsibility (for its consequences),� he said, declaring: “The industrialized countries must help.�

At the meeting Ban took the opportunity to lay out his timeline for action. The intergovernmental process begins with a General Assembly meeting to be held next week and the convening of a high-level meeting in New York on Sept. 24, which will lead to the start of negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, in December.

The Kyoto Protocol, the international community’s current framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expires in 2012. A successor pact must be ready for ratification three years before that date to allow countries to make it law in time, Ban said.

Asked about the role of the United States, Ban said he had a “very good meeting� on the issue 10 days ago with President George W. Bush, who “now realizes the seriousness� of the problem.

US leadership on climate change will be “very important,� said the secretary-general. The status quo “cannot be an option� for the US, which should, “look beyond its national situation.�

All industrialized countries must show leadership on the issue, he said. “They should think about the future, not the present situation�