Climate deal an 'essential beginning'

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Copenhagen - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the climate change deal reached by world leaders at a UN summit in Denmark.

He said it was an "essential beginning" that contains progress on all key fronts, but adding that work must now focus on turning the deal into a legally binding treaty.

Delegates representing 194 countries attending the Copenhagen conference agreed on Friday to work towards implementing an accord forged by some world leaders after two weeks of marathon negotiations in the Danish capital.

"Finally we sealed the deal. And it is a real deal. Bringing world leaders to the table paid off... We have the foundation for the first truly global agreement that will limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support adaptation for the most vulnerable and launch a new era of green growth," Ban said.

"The Copenhagen Accord may not be everything that everyone hoped for, but this decision of the Conference of Parties is a beginning, an essential beginning."

He said results have been yielded on all four of the benchmarks for success that he laid out during the special leaders' summit on climate change held in New York in September.

"All countries have agreed to work towards a common long-term goal to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius; many governments have made important commitments to reduce or limit emissions; countries have achieved significant progress on preserving forests; and countries have agreed to provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable to cope with climate change."

Ban said these commitments have been backed up by $30 billion of pledges for short-term adaptation and mitigation measures for poorer countries, and further commitments to raise $100 billion by 2020 to achieve those goals.

The deal also provides a mechanism for drawing the many nationally announced climate goals into an international deal.

Through an annex, developed countries would choose to list their greenhouse gas reduction targets and financing offers, and developing countries would register mitigation and adaptation projects that could be monitored or reviewed.

But he cautioned that serious work lies ahead in turning the Copenhagen Accord into a legally binding treaty, adding that he would work closely with world leaders to make that happen.