Ban Ki Moon held a press conference yesterday for the opening of the annual UN Summit. It would seem the race for the GOP nomination for president was on some people’s minds.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. The issue of the day: climate change. You have made saving the planet, as you mentioned, and climate change your personal mission. So, considering that and the importance of this issue to you, I ask the following question, and I ask, I know you don’t like to get involved in internal politics, but considering the significance of this issue in the planet, a man running for the US presidency on climate change and global warming said, quote, “the science is not settled on this. The fact of the matter is science is not settled on whether or not climate change is being impacted by man.” Is he wrong?
Ever the diplomat, Ban Responded:
SG: I’ll try to speak more in general terms. You’ll remember that I visited South Pacific countries earlier this month: Solomon Islands and Kiribati. My visit to these countries was quite alarming and I was struck by what I have seen, particularly in Kiribati. I was given even a life jacket because they were afraid that the sea tide during night time may impact my hotel, a small hotel. The highest point in Kiribati is 3.5 metres, and normal sea tide rises from one metre to three metres. So, it’s very dangerous, and I met so many people who were just afraid of going to sleep. I saw these impacts of climate change that really reinforced my conviction that climate change is a real threat. Now, many countries and national governments, they have been taking their own domestic measures. I am not here in a position to say any specific comment or specific measures of any country. What I am urging the world leaders and all the leaders of the world is that instead of waiting until this globally binding agreement is reached, they have to take their own action to mitigate this climate change impact and to adapt and to mobilize necessary financing. I leave it to the national governments. But it is very, very important and urgent action [is needed].
The reporter pressed on.
Q: Governor [Rick] Perry talks about how Galileo was out-voted for a spell. This is a man who might be President; who might be meeting you in two years here, who would have tremendous influence in a nation.
SG: It’s a little bit premature for me to make any comment on that kind of thing.
It is worth pointing out that Ban Ki Moon’s first term for Secretary General was supported by president Bush and his second term was supported by President Obama. It’s a mistake to think that he can only work with the USA when one party is in power.