UN chief calls for ‘green new deal’

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS,

Poznan (Poland) : A “green new deal” to get the world out of the financial and climate crises at the same time – that was the message of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as he opened the ‘high-level segment’ of the Dec 1-12 climate change summit here Thursday, with praise for India’s plan to fight global warming.

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The UN chief said: “Together, we face two crises: climate change and the global economy. But these crises present us with a great opportunity – an opportunity to address both challenges simultaneously.

“Managing the global financial crisis requires massive global stimulus. A big part of that spending should be an investment – an investment in a green future. An investment that fights climate change, creates millions of green jobs and spurs green growth. We need a green new deal.”

Ban sought leadership on this issue from the EU and the US. He praised the leadership being provided by developing countries.

“India has launched a comprehensive National Climate Change Action Plan that lays out the path for shifting to greater reliance on sustainable sources of energy, particularly solar power,” the UN chief noted. “This is the way of the future, a future we must all embrace.”

Ban exhorted the ministers gathered for the high-level segment of the summit to overcome three challenges:

“First, you must agree on a work plan for next year’s negotiations. Second, you need to sketch out the critical elements of a long-term vision. We need a basic framework of cooperative action starting today, not in 2012.

“Within this framework, industrialised countries must set ambitious long-term goals, coupled with mid-term emission reduction targets.

“Developing countries need to limit the growth of their emissions as well. To do so, they will need robust financial and technological support – not just promises, but tangible results.

“Third, we must re-commit ourselves to the urgency of our cause. This requires leadership – your leadership,” he told the ministers. “We must keep climate change at the top of national agendas.”

“Let us save ourselves from catastrophe and usher in a truly sustainable world.”

At the opening session of the summit’s high-level segment, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer told the assembled ministers: “Here in Poznan, one year from Copenhagen, we need to hear, feel and see your resolve to complete the task you set us in Bali (at the last summit in December 2007).

“You launched the Bali roadmap to fulfil this task, not to procrastinate on it. The Bali roadmap is about issues of today, not about delay.”

De Boer said: “Distrust and suspicion have haunted these talks for much too long. This is your opportunity to move on.”

The UN climate chief told the ministers “it’s time to give meaning to the term leadership. It’s time for you to tell the world how you will:

“Send the world a clear signal from Poznan that you are ready to put in place finance structures to shift the global economy on to a low-emissions pathway.

“Send the world a clear signal from Poznan that you are ready to govern those structures as equal partners.

“Send the world a clear signal from Poznan that you are pushing towards Copenhagen in close cooperation.”

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])