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UN Summit on Climate Change Discusses Measures to Help the Most Vulnerable and Emission Reduction Targets

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets US President Barack Obama as he arrives for the Climate Change Summit - © UN22 September 2009: The UN Summit on Climate Change convened in New York, US, on 22 September 2009, bringing together approximately 100 Heads of State and government. At the close of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced optimism that negotiations for a new climate agreement are on the “right track,” but also warned that momentum must be maintained to ensure success in Copenhagen.

In his opening remarks at the Summit, Ban stressed that failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen would be “morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and politically unwise.” In a summary of the talks among world leaders, Ban noted that there was convergence on five key issues, including enhanced measures to help the most vulnerable and poorest adapt to the impact of climate change, as well as setting emission reduction targets for industrialized countries. Heads of State and government also agreed on the importance of developing countries taking mitigation actions with necessary support; scaling up financial and technical resources; and setting up an equitable governance structure. During the day-long event, leaders acknowledged the “scientific imperative” to curb emissions by at least 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, with many referring to the importance of a 2-degree Celsius limit on global temperature rise. The event also featured eight interactive round table discussions that focused on transforming economies to enable sustainable, low-emissions growth. They consisted of 25 participants each and were co-chaired by 16 Heads of State from developed and developing countries. [UN press release] [UN meeting coverage] [Secretary-General's speech] [Secretary-General's closing remarks]