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UN Secretary General Discusses Climate Change
By Tyler Collins

Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon focused the Sorensen Distinguished Lecture on February 11, 2013 on “the threat of climate catastrophe.” He also mentioned the ongoing crisis in Syria, but intentionally overlooked many other global issues in his presentation, noting that Syria and climate change deserve heightened attention from the international community.

The Secretary General observed that despite “a downward global spiral of extreme weather and disaster, reversals in development gains, increases in displacement, aggravated tensions over water and land, fragile states tipping into chaos,” political leaders are hesitant to address the issues of climate change.

He also noted the progress that many countries have made in moving to a sustainable future. He said that with the proper policies, by mid-century, nearly 80% of the global energy demand could be satisfied by renewables.

Calling attention to his recent global initiative, “Sustainable Energy for All,” which seeks to double the rate of global energy efficiency improvements and expand the use of renewable energy, the Secretary General said that the “green economy” is an investment in a safer future for all.

The Secretary General commended President Obama for his new dedication to addressing climate change, and urged the American government and business leaders to mobilize the necessary capital and political support for the creation of an international climate change agreement.

In his closing statement he referenced President John F. Kennedy’s description of the United Nations as “Our last best hope.” Of course, the Secretary General noted, Kennedy “was speaking about a world in the grip of an arms race. Today we face a race against time. I look forward to the contributions that you… will make towards helping us reach our shared destination—a safer, more just and more sustainable world for all.”

Read the full speech here.

Posted: March 11, 2013