We Can Do It

by Ban Ki-Moon
The New York Times
October 25, 2009

Every day, the critical December summit in Copenhagen grows closer. All agree that climate change is an existential threat to humankind. Yet agreement on what to do still eludes us.

How can this be? The issues are complex, affecting everything from national economies to individual lifestyles. They involve political trade-offs and commitments of resources no leader can undertake lightly. We could see all that at recent climate negotiations in Bangkok. Where we needed progress, we saw gridlock.

Yet the elements of a deal are on the table. All we require to put them in place is political will. We need to step back from narrow national interest and engage in frank and constructive discussion in a spirit of global common cause…

…We cannot afford another period where the United States stands on the sidelines. An engaged United States can lead the world to seal a deal to combat climate change in Copenhagen. An indecisive or insufficiently engaged United States will cause unnecessary — and ultimately unaffordable — delay in concrete strategies and policies to beat this looming challenge…

A deal needs to be backed by money and the means to deliver it. Developing countries need funding and technology so they can move more quickly toward green growth. The solutions we discuss cannot be realized without substantial additional financing, including through carbon markets and private investment.

A deal must include an equitable global governance structure. All countries must have a voice in how resources are deployed and managed. That is how trust will be built.

Can we seal a comprehensive, equitable and ambitious deal in Copenhagen that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise to a scientifically safe level? Can we catalyze clean energy growth? Can we help to protect the most vulnerable nations from the effects of climate change? Can we expect the United States to play a leading role?

The best answer to all these questions was given last week by Senators Kerry and Graham: “Yes, we can.”

Ban Ki-moon is secretary general of the United Nations.

The complete op-ed can be read at the New York Times.

Comments are closed.

Categories