ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Nations secretary-general on Sunday urged world policymakers to do more to address the threat of climate change as negotiators attempt to forge a new global warming pact next year.
Speaking to hundreds of international delegates at the start of a climate gathering in Abu Dhabi, Ban Ki-moon warned that time is running out to reduce harmful emissions and that political leaders need to offer bold commitments to drive meaningful change.
"If we do not take urgent action, all our plans for increased global prosperity and security will be undone," he warned.
Ban was in the United Arab Emirates capital to mark the start of a conference meant to lay the groundwork for a climate summit he has called for world leaders in September.
More than 1,000 participants, including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and dozens of government ministers from around the world, are taking part in the two-day Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting. They aim to focus on a range of strategies to address climate change, including deployment of renewable energy, efforts to improve energy efficiency and the use of more sustainable agriculture.
Ban's September meeting in turn is designed to provide impetus for efforts to secure a sweeping climate deal involving rich and poor nations in 2015. That is the target year negotiators in a U.N.-led process have set for themselves after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord.
The aim of the process is to get governments to agree to cut emissions after 2020 to keep warming below 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) compared to today's levels. Global temperatures already have risen 0.8 Celsuis (1.4 Fahrenheit) since recordkeeping began in the 19th century.
No major breakthroughs are expected to emerge from the Abu Dhabi meeting, though organizers hope it will boost momentum for upcoming talks.
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