UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has expressed his concern that the world is not acting fast enough to mitigate climate change, ahead of a UN climate summit set to be attended by world leaders this month.
The secretary-general said that climate change has been one of his top priorities since taking the office in 2007. He noted that progress has been made but warned the time for decisive global action is now, else the world risks climate chaos.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Ban said, “I have been pleased to see climate change rise on the political agenda and in the consciousness of people worldwide. But I remain alarmed that governments and businesses have still failed to act at the pace and scale needed.
“Time is running out. The more we delay, the more we will pay.”
He cites the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) series of reports. The fifth report warned that no nation would be left untouched by the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather, soaring food prices and increasing conflict.
Ban said, “I have travelled the world to see the impacts for myself, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from the low-lying islands of the Pacific threatened by rising seas to the retreating glaciers of Greenland, the Andes and the Alps. I have seen encroaching deserts in Mongolia and the Sahel and the endangered rainforest in Brazil.”
Despite his concerns around inaction, the UN’s leader does highlight that a growing number of people are recognising that climate change is an issue for all people, businesses and governments and an investment in political and financial capital in the solutions is needed.
On September 23 world leaders will gather at UN headquarters in New York to attend a climate summit. The event aims to be a step towards the agreement of a global deal next year in Paris. The UN has called on attendees to make “bold pledges” at the summit.
Photo: Control Arms via Flickr