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UN Secretary-General Warns Against the “Gathering Threat of Climate Change”

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General11 February 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered the Sorensen Distinguished Lecture on the UN at the Council on Foreign Relations, focusing on the crisis in Syria and the "threat of climate catastrophe." He noted that science has "long sounded the alarm" on “the gathering threat of climate change,” warning against projected increases of extreme weather events, development reversals, forced displacements, and tensions over resources.

In his remarks, Ban Ki-moon highlighted that few leaders understand the need to make climate change the central piece of security, economic and financial management. He called for investing in mitigation, noting that these investments will "repay themselves many times over," rather than paying for its consequences. In this regard, he underscored the potential of the renewable industry to lead the transition towards a low-carbon future, as outlined in his Sustainable Energy for All (SE4A) initiative.

Ban welcomed US President Barack Obama's “new resolve” to address climate change and give it high political priority. He called for a stronger sense of collective responsibility, and on governments to keep their promise to reach a global, legally binding climate change agreement by 2015. [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Statement]