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UN considers climate change summit
April 12th, 2007

The United Nations is considering bringing members together for a “high level” meeting on climate change later in the year, as a prelude to a summit in 2008, it was reported today.

The UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, told the Financial Times that a meeting between ministers and senior delegates, possibly in September this year, would be a useful precursor to December’s meeting of environment ministers in

Mr Ban said the discussions “may be able to give some clear guidelines to the December Bali meeting”.

He added that if the talks were successful then “a summit meeting will have to be discussed later on … It may be 2008 or 2009.”

Mr Ban, who took over as secretary general in January, believes climate change is as big a threat to the world as war.

He has pledged to make tackling the problem one of his top priorities and has repeatedly urged the US to take a lead on the issue.

However, Mr Ban told the FT that “one difficulty is whether I can see for sure the participation of all the major countries, including the United States”.

Environment ministers from more than 100 countries are expected to attend the conference in
Bali where a key item on the agenda will be the successor to the Kyoto protocol, which ends in 2012.

One UN adviser told the FT there were concerns that without a high-level push, the Bali talks could end without delegates reaching a consensus on a follow-up to Kyoto.

“If we stay on the current course it does not look like the Bali meeting will … set the groundwork for negotiations past Kyoto,” the official said.

Any international policy on tackling climate change will need the agreement of the US, China and India – countries that were not bound by the Kyoto agreement.

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