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Special Features | World

Climate-related disasters are the 'new normal' - UN chief
The online news portal of TV5

DOHA, Qatar -- Even as the Philippines is being pummeled by typhoon “Pablo,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said extreme weather due to climate change “is now the new normal.”

Speaking before more than 10,000 delegates from 194 nations at the high-level segment of the UN-backed climate talks on Tuesday, Ban urged countries to act decisively to tackle the growing crisis of climate change.

“Let us be under no illusion. This is a crisis. A threat to us all. Our economies, our security and the well-being of our children and those who will come after,” the UN chief said.

He pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people are washed from their homes in countries such as Mozambique, Nigeria, Colombia, Peru, Australia and the Philippines.

“The danger signs are all around. No one is immune to climate change, rich or poor. It is an existential challenge for the whole human race,” Ban said, citing scientific reports on the unprecedented melting of icecaps, the rise in sea levels, land degradation and drought in various parts of the world.

Delegates at the two-week UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks, which ends Friday, are struggling to forge a binding deal under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period expires in a few weeks.

Under the Protocol, 37 nations, both highly industrialized and emerging economies, have legally binding commitments to limit and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

“We are in a race against time to stay below the agreed threshold of 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels that will avoid the worst impact of climate change,” Ban said as he urge countries to reach an effective, fair and ambitious binding agreement by 2015 to take effect by 2020. “ Every delay means greater future effort or greater future harm.”

Aside from the adoption of ratified next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, Ban emphasized the need for governments to tackle long-term financing.

Developed countries have pledged to provide US$100 billion by 2020 to poorer countries in order to adapt to the changing climate.