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UN Secretary-General: “Financial Crisis is Most Immediate, the More Existential is Climate Change”

Nukunonu Atoll seaside, one of the regions of the world vulnerable to climate change. Photo credit, United Nations. 11 November 2008: In a joint op-ed piece published in The International Herald Tribune on 10 November 2008 with Indonesian President

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Danish Prime

Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the

summit on the global financial crisis, scheduled to be held on 15 November

2008, in Washington DC, US, to seize the opportunity to tackle global warming.

Indonesia was the host of the 2007 climate change conference in Bali, while

Poland is hosting further negotiations in Poznan in December 2008, and Denmark

will host talks in 2009 to draw up an agreement on greenhouse gas emission

reductions for the period after 2012, which is when the current commitments

under the Kyoto Protocol will expire. The four leaders stress that such action

would create jobs and boost the world's economies, noting that while the global

financial crisis “is most immediate; the more existential is climate change.”

They add that the urgency of the first should not serve as an excuse for

delaying action on the second, but rather an “opportunity to kill two birds

with one stone.”

They emphasize that the transition to a “green economy” would

tackle both crises and called for policies and financial incentives within a

global framework to steer economic growth towards a low carbon pathway. [UN

Press Release]