UPDATE 1-Extreme weather is new normal, U.N.'s Ban tells climate talks

Reuters Middle East

* Ban Ki-moon urges nations to cast off apathy, agree a deal

* Says wants Kyoto to stay platform to fight global warming

* Wants rich nations to set timetable for more climate

change aid to poor

DOHA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Extreme weather is the new normal

and poses a threat to the human race, U.N. Secretary-General Ban

Ki-moon said on Tuesday as he sought to revive deadlocked global

climate change talks.

Ban's intervention came as efforts to agree a symbolic

extension of the U.N. Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that obliges

about 35 developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions

until the end of 2012, looked to be faltering.

In a speech to almost 200 nations meeting in Doha to try to

get a breakthrough, Ban said a thaw in Arctic sea ice to record

lows this year, superstorms and rising sea levels were all signs

of a crisis.

"The abnormal is the new normal," he told delegates at the

Nov. 26-Dec. 7 talks. He said signs of change were apparent

everywhere and "from the United States to India, from Ukraine to

Brazil, drought (has) decimated essential global crops".

"No one is immune to climate change - rich or poor. It is an

existential challenge for the whole human race - our way of

life, our plans for the future," he said.

The failure to agree a Kyoto extension is blocking efforts

to lay the foundations of a new global U.N. deal that is meant

to be agreed in 2015 and to enter into force from 2020.

At the last attempt in 2009, a summit in Copenhagen failed

to agreed a global deal to succeed Kyoto. Kyoto requires

countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of

5.2 percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

"A BLANK SLATE"

Robert Stavins, director of Harvard University's

environmental economics programme, said there was some hope that

an accord could be struck in 2015 despite past setbacks.

"It's a blank slate and there is always hope for long-term

happiness," he said, likening the situation to somebody seeking

a new romance after being twice divorced.

Ban said that Kyoto was a valuable model even though Russia,

Japan and Canada are pulling out, leaving a group led by the

European Union and Australia that account for only 15 percent of

world greenhouse gas emissions.

The defectors say Kyoto is no longer relevant because

emerging nations led by China and India will have no targets to

curb their soaring emissions from 2013. And the United States,

the second biggest emitter behind China, never ratified Kyoto.

Ban also said that rich nations should step up aid to help

the poor cope with climate change after a $10-billion-a-year

funding programme promised for 2010-12 runs out.

World leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama set a

separate goal of $100 billion in aid from 2020 at a Copenhagen

summit in 2009, but did not set goals for 2013-19. Economic

slowdown has made many developed nations less able to pay.

"There should be a clear roadmap" for raising aid towards

$100 billion, Ban told a news conference.

"Developed countries must give clear indications that

scaled-up climate financing will flow after 2012," he said.

Developing nations also stressed the need for details. "For

2013 to 2015 we must have a clear position on the injection of

capital," said Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister at the National

Development and Planning Commission, who heads China's

delegation.

Britain said it would spend around £1.8 billion ($2.9

billion) to finance climate change measures from 2013-15. It

also unveiled new projects from Africa to Colombia, including a

98-million-pound-scheme ($157.75 million) to aid renewable power

generation in Africa.

"If anything, the science is telling us it's now getting

warmer quicker than we had previously expected," said Ed Davey,

British energy and environment minister. "Our actions as a world

are going slower than we had previously hoped."

View Comments (0)