Some developed countries backtracking in fighting climate change: UN chief

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Tuesday criticized some developed countries for backtracking in fighting climate change.

Ban lashed out at some rich countries "which are supposed to be taking leadership" but are actually "backtracking" in battling global warming, during an event of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw.

Without singling out specific countries, Ban said what some countries did are "quite disappointing," and urged them to "take urgent action," pointing to the recent devastating typhoon as an alarm call.

The comments are seen as a response to decisions by some developed countries to backtrack in their efforts to curb carbon emissions.

The Japanese government last Friday decided to cut emissions by 3.8 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, claiming the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami had forced it to close some of its nuclear plants.

The new target, a reversal of its previous target of a 25-percent reduction, represents a 3-percent rise from the U.N. benchmark year levels of 1990, and has been widely criticized during the conference.

Scientists say rising temperatures are spreading droughts, more violent storms and boosting sea levels. The typhoon lashed the Philippines with 195 mile-per-hour winds, killing thousands and leaving more without homes.

Referring to the much-anticipated Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was agreed upon at the UN climate talks in Cancun in 2010, the UN chief also urged developed countries to honor their promises to help poorer countries to address global warming.

Under the GCF deal, developed countries should provide 100 billion U.S. dollars to poorer countries by 2020 to help them cope with carbon emissions and adapt to climate change. However, the promise has been largely unfulfilled.

Ban expressed his "serious concerns" over whether rich countries can honor their promises, saying, "I am urging you to do more."

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