U.N.'s Ban says no 'time for tinkering' on global warming action

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives a speech during the opening of the High Level Segment of the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 20 in Lima, December 9, 2014. REUTERS/ Mariana Bazo
By Alister Doyle and Valerie Volcovici

By Alister Doyle and Valerie Volcovici LIMA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no "time for tinkering" and urged a radical shift to greener economies. Ban said there was still a chance of limiting global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to limit more floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels. "But the window of opportunity is fast narrowing," he told delegates from about 190 nations at the Dec. 1-12 talks working on a deal due in Paris in a year's time to limit rising world greenhouse gas emissions. "This is not a time for tinkering; it is a time for transformation," he said. Despite signs of progress, "I am deeply concerned that our collective action does not match our common responsibilities." "We must act now," he said. He welcomed signs of action, such as more businesses favoring carbon markets, and a day of marches in September that he said mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in the streets "from Manhattan to Mumbai to Melbourne". Ban also welcomed pledges by developed nations totaling almost $10 billion to a new Green Climate Fund, due to help developing nations cut emissions and adapt to climate changes that will put pressure on food and water supplies. He called on countries which have not yet pledged "to consider making an ambitious financial commitment in Lima." Australia is the only major developed nation which has not contributed to the fund, preferring to focus on domestic initiatives. Ban urged developed nations to "meet and exceed" a goal set in 2009 of mobilizing at least $100 billion a year, in both public and private finance, by 2020 to help developing nations. The Lima talks are trying to work out draft elements of a deal for Paris next year, but face numerous fault lines about what should be included. Many developing nations, for instance, want a target of cutting world greenhouse gas emissions to a net zero by 2050. OPEC nations, worried about loss of income from a shift to renewable energy, favor much vaguer long-term goals. (Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by James Dalgleish)