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UN Heads Welcome US President-elect’s Statement on Climate Change

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with US Senator Barack Obama in February 2007 20 November 2008: UN environmental heads have welcomed US President-elect Obama's statement in a video message to the Governors' Global Climate Summit, which convened in Los Angeles, California, US, from 18-19 November 2008, that his presidency “will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change.”

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner noted the importance of the statement and underlined that it is a signal that “because of the current financial crisis, a greener economic policy is finding new momentum.” Also commenting on Obama's remarks, UNFCCC Executive Director Yvo de Boer stated that the President elect had indicated that “he wants to show leadership both domestically and internationally,” welcoming this as a “very important signal of encouragement” for all the negotiating parties. He added that the “lesson of Kyoto” highlights the need to find an agreement the US is willing to commit to.

In related news, US President-elect Barack Obama telephoned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 19 November 2008 to discuss how to address current crises and strengthen the partnership between the US and the UN. [UN Press Release]