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UN chief warns of 'incalculable' suffering without climate deal

by Staff Writers
Incheon, South Korea (AFP) Aug 11, 2009
UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned Tuesday of "incalculable" human suffering if the world fails to reach a deal at crucial climate change talks this December.

The United Nations is orchestrating the talks in the Danish capital in hopes of securing an agreement to slash greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

"As we move toward Copenhagen in December, we must seal a climate change deal that secures our common future," Ban told an environmental forum in Incheon city west of Seoul.

The UN secretary general, who began a visit to his homeland Sunday, warned of catastrophes if the world fails to work out a deal.

Ban said unchecked climate change would intensify drought, floods and other natural disasters and bring water shortages and malnutrition -- aggravating tensions and social unrest and even sparking violence.

"The human suffering will be incalculable," Ban said.

He said he was confident the world could avert catastrophe but time was running out. "We have the power to change course but we must do it now."

Ban said industrialised countries should lead the way by committing to mid-term targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

He urged developed countries to provide "sufficient, measurable and verifiable" technical and financial support to developing nations to achieve the common goal.

Ban also urged developing countries to take "measurable, reportable and verifiable" actions to reduce emissions.

"Any agreement must be fair, effective, equitable and comprehensive and based on science," he said. "Trust between developing and developed countries is essential."

Ban recalled that Incheon was the city where United Nations forces launched a daring landing in 1950 to turn the tide of the Korean War.

"Today we need to turn a different tide. The tide of climate change.... Together we truly can turn the tide once again here in Incheon," he said.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, is on a 10-day private visit and returns to New York on August 18.

During his stay he plans to meet President Lee Myung-Bak, Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan to discuss issues including climate change and the UN-South Korean partnership.

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Climate talks begin in Bonn
Bonn, Germany (UPI) Aug 10, 2009
Delegates from nearly 190 countries are meeting in the German city of Bonn for the latest round of talks ahead of a major climate-change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. The Bonn meeting, held from Aug. 10-14, is the third in Germany this year, added because time is running out to find an agreement on a negotiation text for the major Copenhagen summit in December. ... read more

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