U.N. Chief Urges Speed Up Of Climate talks

PARIS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders on Wednesday to look beyond their national interests and make sure a global deal to fight climate change is agreed at talks in Paris this year.

With just 10 days scheduled for formal negotiations before the climate summit begins in Paris on Nov. 30, work to pare back a negotiating text, still more than 80 pages long, is behind schedule and some important countries, including India and Saudi Arabia, have yet to deliver promises on emissions cuts.

“We don’t have much time,” Ban told a news conference with French Foreign Laurent Fabius, who will preside over the Paris talks.

“I hope negotiators and ministers (will) look beyond their national interests which is why I’m asking world leaders to give a clear message to their negotiators that they should accelerate this negotiation.”

Pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions currently fall far short of what is needed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Just over 50 countries have so far made pledges, although French officials have said they are confident the final offers will cover 90 percent of the world’s emissions.

The 2 degree limit is what scientists say can prevent the most devastating consequences of climate change.

Highlighting how far there still is to go, Ban told French daily Le Monde that key issues such as financing for developing nations and the legally binding nature of the deal remained unsolved.

Senior officials meet in Bonn, Germany, from Aug 31 to Sept. 4 to try to move things forward before a ministerial meeting in Paris on Sept. 6 as they look to get a consensus on all issues between the 196 parties.

Fabius said he wanted negotiators to whittle down the draft to just 20 pages by mid-October.

“We have to speed things up. It’s a race against the clock. Last year was the warmest ever and everything indicates this year will be even warmer,” Fabius said.

“It’s not just a negotiation, it’s a race against the clock.”