Only 10 days left for climate deal, U.N.'s Ban says

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday negotiators had just 10 days left to secure a global climate deal and governments must not be hindered by domestic troubles.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks on at a news conference after the high level segment of the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG) in Geneva September 3, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The United Nations hopes to bring 190 governments together in early December in Copenhagen to finalize a deal on greenhouse gas emissions to replace provisions of the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012.

“There are just 10 negotiating days left until we come to Copenhagen,” Ban said, referring apparently to the remaining days of September 28 to October 9 climate talks under way in Bangkok and to a November 2-6 meeting in Barcelona.

“In 10 days we need to decide what needs to be done for our future,” he said in a speech at Copenhagen University.

“We are not there yet. There is still a lot to be done and not much time left,” he said during a visit to Denmark’s capital to meet Danish officials and speak to an Olympic Congress.

Ban said a proposal to hold extra talks in November on financing for a climate deal was still under consideration.

“I see a value and importance of having that kind of last pressure effort,” he said. “But we have to first of all see how these negotiations in Bangkok come out.”

Ban said responsibility for reaching a deal rests on governments all of which, he added, face domestic challenges.

“Now is not the time to look at domestic challenges, we must look at global challenges that will impact the whole world,” the South Korean secretary-general said.

Ban said success depended on the United States, though he recognized that U.S. President Barack Obama could have difficulty pushing through the necessary legislation in time for the December Copenhagen meeting.

“It is true, a fact of life, that without U.S. participation, this deal cannot be done,” Ban said when asked what the world should do if the United States did not join.

The United States stayed outside the Kyoto Protocol when it was adopted in 1997, but Ban said this time all countries, “without exception,” should join.

“We must have a comprehensive deal,” he said.

“Now it seems it may be difficult for President Obama to come with strong authority (to Copenhagen) because this bill is still in the Senate.

“They might not be able to do that by the end of this year, but that should not give the United States an excuse not to do it.”