UN singles out US as the most important nation for global warming negotiations

Jeremy Hance
November 11, 2009

Visiting Washington DC, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated that the United States was the world's most important actor when it comes to negotiations for a new climate change treaty, while urging the Senate to move forward on legislation.

"No country is more important than the United States in resolving this climate change issue," Ban told reporters after meeting with congressional leaders who are debating climate change legislation. "All eyes of the world are looking to the United States and to this august body, the US Senate."

Ban warned that while many felt the financial price of combating climate change was too high in the midst of an economic crisis, the price of inaction would be far higher.

"Inaction will mean a weakened economic recovery, a loss of global competitiveness, increased global instability and further human suffering," said Ban. "A global agreement on the other hand will unleash investments that will do more than any single other action could do to jumpstart and sustain global economic recovery."

While Ban said that he was aware it was unlikely the Senate would pass climate change legislation before the Copenhagen summit in December, he outlined a way that the US Senate could still help move negotiations forward.

"They may have agreed to a certain framework, which can work as a very strong political message and as a sign of commitment on the part of the United States," he said. "That will be quite important and useful for us to get this negotiation started."

A study in May found that the United States was responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other nation over the past 150 years. In fact the study conducted by the World Resources Institute found that the US was reponsible for 29 percent of the world's total emissions since the mid-1800s.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (November 11, 2009).

UN singles out US as the most important nation for global warming negotiations.