Advertisement

Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
AP Photo/Osama Faisal UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
# Climate Change
Ban Ki-Moon: Rich countries 'to blame' for climate change
The UN Secretary-General said that it was only fair that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility in fighting global warming.

RICH COUNTRIES ARE to blame for climate change and should take the lead in forging a global climate pact by 2015, a deadline that “must be met,” the head of the United Nations said today.

On the sidelines of international climate talks in Qatar, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was “only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility” in fighting the gradual warming of the planet.

Responsibility

Ban’s comments echoed the concerns of China and other developing countries, which say rich nations have a historical responsibility for global warming because their factories released carbon emissions into the atmosphere long before the climate effects were known.

“The climate change phenomenon has been caused by the industrialisation of the developed world,” Ban told The Associated Press.

It’s only fair and reasonable that the developed world should bear most of the responsibility.

Most of the emissions now come from the developing world, and China has overtaken the US to become the world’s top carbon polluter.

How to divide the burden of emissions cuts is at the core of discussions to create a new global climate treaty that would apply to all nations. The only binding pact so far, the Kyoto Protocol, only covers the emissions of industrialised countries.

Last year, governments decided that the new treaty should be adopted in 2015 and enter force five years later. The Doha meeting is supposed to produce a work plan to ensure that the treaty is ready by 2015.

“This deadline must be met. There is no time to waste, no time to lose for us,” Ban said.

Climate change is happening much, much faster than one would understand. The science has plainly made it clear: it is the human beings’ behaviour which caused climate change, therefore the solution must come from us.

Ban came to the negotiations in Doha in an attempt to “accelerate the process” of shifting the world to a clean energy pathway, and helping the most vulnerable countries adapt to inevitable warming.

Governments represented at the talks in Qatar are also discussing extending the Kyoto Protocol, which expires this year, as a stopgap measure until the new deal takes effect.

The United States never joined the Kyoto Protocol, partly because it didn’t cover emerging economies like China and India. For similar reasons, Canada, New Zealand and Japan don’t want to be part of the extension, meaning it would only cover Europe and Australia, who account for less than 15 percent of global emissions.

Nevertheless, Ban said it is “imperative” that the treaty is extended, because it is “the only existing legally binding commitment when it comes to climate change.”

Skepticism

Dangerous climate effects could include flooding of coastal cities and island nations, disruptions to agriculture and drinking water, and the spread of diseases and the extinction of species.

A small minority of scientists still question whether the warming seen in recent decades is due to human activities, such as carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. On Tuesday, Ban said it was time to “prove wrong all these doubts on climate change.”

Global warming skeptic John Christy of the University of Alabama said Ban’s statement was “representative of a religion, not science.”

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Doha talks hope to agree follow-up to Kyoto emissions deal>

Read: Report says climate change impacting negatively on human health>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
4