Ban Ki-moon: leaders should join a "race to the top" on climate

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On 4 and 5 May, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Arab Emirates co-hosted a high-level meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss global initiatives for combating climate change. The ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent’ was attended by over 1,000 participants, including NGOs, civil society representatives, and 100 government ministers. The discussions will feed into the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2014.

Participants discussed the conclusions of the recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recognised the catastrophic effects of climate change, and the urgent need for remedial action. A significant collaboration between the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Esri, a prominent leader in ‘Geographic Information Systems’ technology, was also announced at the meeting. The collaboration will include Esri providing mapping technology to visualise disaster risk in target locations.          

Breakout groups were tasked with producing proposals in nine key areas, identified as offering the maximum scope for meaningful interventions: adaptation, agriculture, cities and transport, economic drivers, renewable energy and energy efficiency, short-lived climate pollutants, finance, forests, and resilience and disaster risk reduction

At the meeting, Mr Ban emphasised the high costs of failing to act with sufficient urgency and ambition, saying "any government or major business that doesn’t have a climate strategy is in trouble". But he also noted that a low-carbon economy presents great opportunities, and that those who are prepared to lead could expect considerable returns.
 
He urged governments, business, finance, voters and consumers to be part of a "race to the top" ahead of next year's UN climate meeting in Paris, at which an global agreement is due to be adopted.

Click here to read the Secretary-General’s opening remarks at the plenary

Click here to read the Secretary-General’s speech at the closing plenary session

Click here to read UNA-UK’s briefing on climate 

Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Abu Dhabi Ascent, UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe  

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