May 21, 2009 / 11:27 PM / 8 years ago

Ban Ki-moon calls for "green deal"

<p>United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) speaks to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan during the 62nd World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva May 19, 2009.Denis Balibouse</p>

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a "green new deal" on climate change on Thursday and urged for a final push in negotiations ahead of a key summit to be held in Copenhagen in December.

"We absolutely must reach an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases and help millions of families adapt to climate change -- before our time runs out," Ban told an audience at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, according to a transcript made available at the United Nations.

Ban said that before the year is out he plans to go to the North Pole, as well as to regions where drought and competition for water threaten peoples' lives and well-being.

The United Nations is striving for a new climate treaty to be agreed at a conference in Copenhagen in December. The new treaty would succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which limits climate-warming greenhouse emissions and expires in 2012.

"At Copenhagen, we need to unleash green investment and jump start a lasting economic recovery, at the same time we strike a blow for climate change," Ban said.

U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe told reporters that Ban is also scheduled to be in Copenhagen on Sunday to open a summit called the World Business Summit on Climate Change.

In Thursday's speech, Ban also called for new cooperation between states, "focused on delivering global goods: freedom from hunger, health and education and security from terror or the threat of Armageddon".

According to the prepared remarks, he also said the United Nations is "beefing up our peace-keeping and conflict prevention efforts."

Edited by Philip Barbara

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