The Secretary General of the UN has called climate change “an emergency.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for urgent political action to tackle the problem. He made these statements while on a visit to Antarctica.
Ban said: “I need a political answer. This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action.” While in Antarctica, he visited three scientific bases on the continent. Ban’s visit marks the first trip to Antarctica by a UN chief.
Antarctica’s vast ice sheets hold a massive amount of the world’s water. They are almost 1.5 miles thick in sections. Recent evidence, however, shows that the ice sheets are thinning. If one of the ice sheets were to collapse, it could cause a potentially catastrophic rise in sea level.
Ban added: “All we’ve seen has been very impressive and beautiful, extraordinarily beautiful, but at the same time it’s disturbing. We’ve seen … the melting of glaciers.”
Ban’s visit comes as he prepares for the UN conference on climate change in Bali in December. The conference is expected to result in a new accord on reducing carbon emissions once the Kyoto Protocols expire in 2012. Ban has made climate issues a large part of his administration.
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