Ban says people feel 'planet's wrath' over warming

Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:37am EST
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By Alister Doyle and Nina Chestney

WARSAW (Reuters) - People around the world are feeling the "wrath of a warming planet", U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday, urging almost 200 governments to take tougher action to reach a deal in 2015 on fighting global warming.

Ban told environment ministers at climate talks in Warsaw they had a steep climb ahead to agree to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say fuel more extreme weather.

The Warsaw talks are struggling to lay the foundations for a new global accord, meant to be agreed in 2015 and enter into force from 2020, that looks likely to be a patchwork of pledges by national governments rather than a strong treaty.

Many developed nations are more focused on spurring sluggish economic growth than fixing global warming, despite scientists' increased certainty that human emissions will cause more heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

Developing nations, led by China and India, insist that the rich must continue to lead while they focus on ending poverty.

"All around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet," Ban said, referring to extreme weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan that killed more than 3,900 people in the Philippines this month.

Current pledges for curbing global warming were "simply inadequate", Ban said. "Here, too, we must set the bar higher."

He said governments needed to step up aid to help poor nations slow their rising emissions of greenhouse gases and to adapt to the impacts of warming.   Continued...

(L-R) Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk listen to Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec during the COP19 conference at the National Stadium in Warsaw November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel