Sunday, September 11, 2011

UN chief calls for urgent action on climate change

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia as examples of the suffering caused by global warming.

Ban lashed out at climate change skeptics during a speech at the University of Sydney, arguing that science has proven climate change is real.

Ban is in Australia for a series of meetings following his attendance at an annual forum of South Pacific island leaders in New Zealand earlier this week. He also made stops in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, low-lying South Pacific island nations threatened by rising sea levels.

"Watching this high tide standing on the shore of Kiribati, I said, 'High tide shows it's high time to act,'" Ban said. "We are running out of time."

Ban has repeatedly highlighted the issue of climate change during his South Pacific tour, which comes ahead of a major climate summit in Durban, South Africa, in November. Delegates from 193 nations will try to hammer out a global agreement to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists say are behind climate change. more