UN chief calls for global governance structure to oversee greenhouse gasses
By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 -- 8:57 pm
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in an opinion piece published by The New York Times, laid out a number of benchmarks for success in the upcoming global climate talks, planned to be held in Copenhagen.
Among them, Ki-moon argued in the Tuesday edition that a "global governance structure" must be levied to ensure that nations collaborate on how resources are deployed and managed.
The editorial, entitled "We Can Do It," urges world leaders toward the accomplishment of three key points: Curbing emissions, investing in green growth for third world nations and establishing a supranational structure to oversee resources.
"Every country must do its utmost to reduce emissions from all major sources, including from deforestation and emissions from shipping and aviation," Ki-moon wrote. "Developed countries must strengthen their mid-term mitigation targets, which are currently nowhere close to the cuts that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says are needed. Developing countries must slow the rise in their emissions and accelerate green growth as part of their strategies to reduce poverty."
He continued: "A deal must include an equitable global governance structure. All countries must have a voice in how resources are deployed and managed. That is how trust will be built."
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A United Press International report referred to Ki-moon's benchmark as "a new climate change regime set to replace the Kyoto Protocol."
The secretary general's editorial comes amid doubts of the potential for a successful global agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gasses. On Monday, a U.N. official with the Climate Change Support Team said, "it's hard to say how far the conference will be able to go," according to the Associate Press. He reportedly added that it is unlikely a treaty will emerge from Copenhagen.
While the secretary general has praised the Obama administration's strong backing of global climate action, "support for climate change as a political issue is [...] declining in the United States," CBC News noted.
"[A Pew Research] poll of 1,500 adults found just over half of Americans favored setting limits on carbon emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, while 56 per cent supported U.S. participation in international agreements.
"But more alarming [...] was that the poll found only 57 per cent of Americans believe there is strong evidence that the Earth has grown hotter in the past few decades, down from 77 per cent in 2006."
"American legislation on climate change is seen as essential to reaching a meaningful deal at Copenhagen," The Guardian noted. "But the White House held up action in the Senate on a climate change bill to focus on healthcare reform. The proposed law, which now stretches for more than 900 pages, would cut America's greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over 2005 levels by 2020 and encourage the development of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Democratic leaders in the Senate are now struggling to advance a bill - which does not have solid support even among their own party - before the meeting in Copenhagen."