Concrete action should be taken to prevent climate change, UN urges

ABU DABI (CIHAN)- From the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the richest, climate change impacts are already widespread, costly and consequential, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging stakeholders gathered in Abu Dhabi to consider concrete actions to tackle the phenomenon now – before it is too late.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time. If we do not take urgent action, all our plans for increased global prosperity and security will be undone,” said the UN chief in opening remarks to the “Abu Dhabi Ascent”, which he is co-hosting with the United Arab Emirates Government to prepare for and build commitment ahead of his Climate Summit, set for 23 September in New York.

More than 1,000 participants, including 100 Government ministers, have gathered in Abu Dhabi for the two-day event to chart new routes for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening climate resilience.

In his speech Ban also said that without an immediate action, the plans for increased global prosperity and security will inevitably fail.
“That is why it is important that Governments complete a meaningful new climate agreement by 2015” – added Ban.

He said that many of the solutions we need already exist. Many others are being rapidly developed.

The benefits of addressing climate change include reduced pollution, improved public health, fewer disasters, less poverty, cleaner, more efficient and affordable energy, better managed forests, livable cities and increased food security, said the Secretary-General.

The former US vice-President and Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore said that we have to think of the effects our actions will have on future generations.

“If they live in the world with worse floods, deeper draughts, collapsing governments and countries that are damaged by this, and hundreds of millions of climate refugees and diseases spreading into new niches and see level rising, they would be justified in looking back at us and asking “what were you thinking? Why didn’t you act?” But if they live in a world with hope and optimism, a world of hope, with renewable energy, with new governance structures, with reforms. If they see solar, and wind and efficiency and if they look at their own children and feel in their hearts that their lives are going to be better still, I would want them to look back at us and ask: “how did you find the moral courage to rise and confront this crisis”? And part of the answer would be “Ascent” in Abu Dhabi, and the special session this September and the Paris negotiations in 2015. And always remember – political will is renewable resource. – said Gore.

The “Ascent” is the first international meeting to draw on the conclusions of the recently issued reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found the consequences of climate change are already being felt, and that while present action is insufficient, there are still pathways towards a low carbon future that could minimize the phenomenon’s impacts. Action now, said the report, is necessary in order to avoid much higher costs in the future.

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