UN chief sees Copenhagen climate change talks successful

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said in the UN Monday that the Copenhagan is "a success" and takes "a significant step forward" in committing countries to respond to climate change.

"I know there is different assessment on the outcome of the conference, the overwhelming number of countries think it is a great success, and it takes a significant step forward," he told reporters. "I think we did get what we need" to push forward the process of the global fight against the climate change.

The accord reached at the end of Copenhagen conference is accepted by all member states, including developing countries, developed nations and small island countries, who were all represented at the conference, which concluded on Saturday in the Danish capital, he said.

"The least developing countries and the land-locked countries also support the accord," he said.

In Copenhagen, Ban said on Saturday the negotiation process at the climate conference here was by far the most complicated he had known. That was because of the many countries attending, all with different positions and situations and different domestic difficulties, he explained.

He said the conference had agreed to "take note of the Copenhagen Accord," which was expected by many to be "accepted." His assistant later explained that the words "take note of" and " accept" were nearly equal in legal terms.

The Copenhagen climate change conference, which had been scheduled to end on Dec. 18, was postponed to Dec. 19 because of the disagreement of several developing countries, including Bolivia, Cuba, Sudan and Venezuela. These countries said they could not accept the Copenhagen Accord draft because it lacked ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions.

After managing to persuade the parties to "take note of the Copenhagen Accord," Ban urged them to translate it into a legally binding treaty as soon as possible in 2010.

He added that any necessary measures would be taken to facilitate a treaty. Ban's efforts to seal a deal on Friday resulted in him not eating until Saturday morning and sleeping only two hours in the past two days.

Back at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, Ban called for world leaders to strive to reach a legally binding treaty. " That's really a big challenge for the United Nations and the world leaders."

"We should be more practical, and we should be more forthcoming, rather than being critical," he said when answering questions about the different views on the outcome of the Copenhagen talks.

"Among the conference decisions, the Copenhagen Accord marks a significant step forward," Ban said here.

"First, it commits countries to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius," he said. "It also says that they will review this commitment in 2015 to take account of new scientific evidence. I understand that the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is going to try to release their fifth assessment report in 2014."

The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio- economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

"Second, the Accord includes mid-term mitigation targets by developed countries and mid-term mitigation actions by developing countries," Ban said. "Again, this is an advance."

"Third, countries have agreed on the importance of acting to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation," he said. "This means we have finally brought the source of nearly one fifth of global emissions into the emerging climate regime."

"Fourth, the Accord agrees to provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable to cope with climate change," he said.

"Fifth, the deal is backed by money and means to deliver it. You know that already 30 billion (U.S.) dollars have been omitted until 2012, and after that 100 billion dollars annually up to 2020, " he said.

"I urge all governments to formally sign on the Copenhagen Accord by registering their support through the UNFCCC," which stands for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, he said. "The faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can build."

"The decision made in Copenhagen fulfill in large part the benchmarks for success that I had laid down at the September 2009 Summit meeting here in UN headquarters," he said.

"Admittedly, they do not yet meet the scientific bottom line to keep global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre- industrial levels."

"But without the commitments in the Copenhagen Accord, we would be facing the real prospect of temperature rises of up to 6 degrees Celsius," he added.

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