UN Secretary-General: Climate Change is the “Defining Challenge of Our Era”

7 October 2008: In a press conference at the UN Headquarters

in New York, US, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized climate change

as the “defining challenge of our era,” and warned that the fight against this

challenge risks being “obscured by shorter-term problems, and in particular the

deepening financial crisis.” He expressed the hope that the climate

negotiations scheduled to take place in December 2008 in Poznan, Poland, will

result in increased cooperation and agreement on a timeframe of work, as well

as “a strong willingness” by developed and developing countries to lead on this


Noting that the current financial crisis is “a passing storm from which

we will recover,” he cautioned that it is not the case for the “potential

catastrophe of global warming.” He praised Japan's leadership in this area through

its “Cool Biz” programme, which inspired the UN's own “Cool UN” scheme, which

aims to reduce the Organization's emissions and raise awareness of its staff of

climate change. [UN

Press Release]