United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told The Washington Post why he’s so fixated on fighting global warming: He thought he could solve the world’s problems by forcing countries to cut carbon dioxide.
“From day one, I made climate change the top priority,” Ki-moon told The Post. “There were many crises around the world, even at that time. But I thought that all these crises, these political crises, could be solved.”
Ki-moon believed fighting global warming could solve other problems in the world “in part by forging a global pact to stave off the crippling droughts, rising seas and extreme weather events that were helping to fuel conflicts,” according to the Post. That’s why the 71-year-old has spent a lot of energy pushing an international treaty to cut CO2 emissions.
More than 170 countries signed onto an international agreement on Earth Day, pledging to cut CO2 emissions. The U.S., for example, has pledged to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, and China has promised to peak emissions by 2030.
Ki-moon hailed the agreement and said it was a personal victory for him, especially after failing to walk away with any such agreement from Copenhagen in 2009. Ki-moon believes enough countries will have signed the most recent climate agreement for it to go into effect by 2017.
“I’m grateful to all the parties involved,” he told The Post. “They may have some small dissatisfactions. But they all agreed, for the common good, for a better future. That was a real moment for me, as secretary-general.”
But Ki-moon’s hopes of a binding global warming treaty may be premature. U.S. voters will head to the ballot box this November to vote for their next president. Should presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump prevail, there’s no guarantee he will stick with Obama’s non-binding, political commitment to the UN.
“I hope that whoever becomes the president of the United States, he or she will be fully committed,” Ki-moon said. “There is a huge expectation that the next president of the United States will lead this process in the right direction.”
Environmentalists are already terrified a Trump presidency would mean the end of the current UN agreement, hashed out in Paris last December.
“Think about the impact of the coming U.S. presidential elections,” French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said during a recent conference. “If a climate change denier was to be elected, it would threaten dramatically global action against climate disruption.”
Trump has already made his thoughts known on global warming. He’s called man-made global warming a “hoax” and said nuclear war is a much greater danger than a changing climate.
“I’m not a believer in global warming, I’m not a believer in manmade global warming,” Trump told radio host Hugh Hewitt in September. “Obama thinks it’s the number one problem of the world today and I think it’s very low on the list.”
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