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UN Secretary-General in Sydney: “We Cannot Burn our Way to the Future”

Ban Ki-moon, UN Sectretary-General8 September 2011: In a speech delivered at Sydney University in Australia at the end of his official visit in the Pacific region, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the need to "connect the dots between challenges such as climate change and water scarcity, energy shortages, global health issues, food insecurity and the empowerment of the world's women."

Among other points, Ban recalled his 50–50–50 challenge, namely to decrease global emissions by 50% in the first 50 years of this century while the population will increase by 50%. Noting that climate change "is showing that the old model is not only dated, it is dangerous," Ban warned that "We cannot burn our way to the future." He pointed out that a number of countries, such as China, the EU, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Denmark and Australia have embarked on a low-carbon pathway for the benefit of their economies, as well as the health and well-being of their people.

Ban then provided an overview of the state of the climate negotiations, noting progress achieved in Cancun. He stressed the need to "keep building" on this progress in Durban, including by agreeing on ambitious mitigation targets, a post-2012 climate regime and climate finance. He concluded by referring to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), emphasizing that it will "also be an important opportunity" and urging to make sustainable development for all "our top priority." [Ban's Statement] [UN Press Release]