Human role in climate change not in doubt: U.N.'s Ban

UNITED NATIONS Tue Dec 8, 2009 11:53am EST

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks about singer Stevie Wonder (not pictured) during a news conference after he was appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, at UN Headquarters, in New York, December 3, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks about singer Stevie Wonder (not pictured) during a news conference after he was appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, at UN Headquarters, in New York, December 3, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that emails leaked from a British university have done nothing to undermine the United Nations' view that climate change is accelerating due to humans.

"Nothing that has come out in the public as a result of the recent email hackings has cast doubt on the basic scientific message on climate change and that message is quite clear -- that climate change is happening much, much faster than we realized and we human beings are the primary cause," he said.

Ban was reacting to a row over leaked emails from Britain's University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, which showed some scientists' efforts to boost the credibility of climate change at the expense of skeptics.

Speaking about U.N. climate talks in Denmark that began on Monday, Ban said he expected the meeting would be successful, despite widespread expectations it will fail to yield a legally binding agreement on global targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

"I am encouraged and I am optimistic," he told reporters. "I expect a robust agreement at the Copenhagen summit meeting that will be effective immediately and include specific recommendations on mitigation (of the effects of climate change), adaptation, finance and technology."

"This agreement will have an immediate operational effect, as soon as it is agreed," he added.

A key sticking point in the talks is the debate over providing financial aid to poor and developing nations to help them make their economies environmentally friendly and withstand the impacts of a warming climate.

China has said the talks must offer cash to help poor nations adjust to climate change and that the money must be new and substantial. Ban said negotiators were closing on a deal.

"We are having some convergence (of) opinions among the leading countries, both developing and developed, that we will agree on $10 billion short-term fast-track facilities for developing countries over three years until 2012," he said.

Any non-binding political agreement that comes out of Copenhagen will form the basis of a legally binding pact that negotiators hope to finalize next year.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Paul Simao)