UN Chief Praises Laureate Gore

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[International News]

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as Nobel Laureates today with the awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize while urging governments to build momentum adopting new binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Ban paid tribute to Al Gore's “exceptional commitment and conviction, as an example of the crucial role that individuals and civil society can play in encouraging multilateral responses to global issues.”

Mr. Ban spokesperson said that the Secretary-General “rejoices with the IPCC, and its co-sponsors, the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.”

Ban also pointed out that the IPCC's “lucid and well-documented findings” helped to establish “beyond doubt that climate change is happening, and that much of it is caused by human activity.”

He said that this led to “unprecedented momentum for action on climate change around the world, and recognition of the UN as the forum for reaching agreement on it.”

In September the Secretary-General convened summit-level talks on the issue in New York to jump-start diplomatic action on climate change, and he called for industrialized and developing countries to commit to a real breakthrough at the critical Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Bali in December.

This Conference will aim to hammer out a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which contains legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions but will expire in 2012.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, praised the Nobel Peace Prize Committee's decision and said that it “has today made it clear that combating climate change is a central peace and security policy for the 21st century.”

Steiner said that both winners “have contributed significantly to elevating public attention on the issue of global warming while outlining the enormous risks but also the enormous opportunities confronting the world.”

Steiner also stressed the critical importance of building on the momentum made so far to build through “negotiations on a decisive, post 2012 emissions reduction agreement” at the Bali meeting.

UNEP was created in the late 1980s with and the World Meteorological Organization of the UN. The IPCC with some 2,000 scientists and experts have studied the science and the probable effects of climate change and its impacts on world economics.

IPCC “outlined the impacts, from the melting off glaciers in the Himalayas to more frequent and devastating floods in New York to Bangladesh, not in some far away future but in the life-time of people today."

Steiner also stated that the IPCC has also calculated the price of peace and stability on this planet at perhaps 0.1 per cent of global GDP a year for 30 years for combating climate change and avoiding instability, rising tensions and conflict.

“The IPCC, in validating the climate science, represents one of the most important contributions the UN has made in its history to humanity and its current and future choices,” Steiner emphasized.

Earlier in the year Al Gore was named a UNEP Champion of the Earth for “making environmental protection a pillar of his public service and for educating the world on the dangers posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nobel Laureates in the U.N. family now include: the IPCC, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN peacekeeping, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UN mediator Ralph Bunche, secretaries-general Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan as well as the United Nations itself.

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