U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has told the climate talks in Doha that climate change-related extreme weather is now the new normal around the world, as he attempted to move the deadlocked talks forward.
Ban Ki-moon stepped in to urge the world to take urgent action as efforts to extend the Kyoto Protocol appeared to be failing. He pointed out that melting of Arctic sea ice has reached a record low this year, and that superstorms and rising sea levels are all signs of an environmental crisis needing more urgent action than ever. Climate science is telling us that climate change is happening faster than previously expected.
The Secretary-General said that the “abnormal is the new normal”, and that droughts have been decimating essential crops around the world, including recently in United States, India, Ukraine, and Brazil.
Ban Ki-moon stated that the Kyoto Protocol is a valuable model, even though some nations are pulling out, including Japan, Canada, and Russia. The group of countries left only account for 15% of world greenhouse gas emissions. Critics of the Kyoto Protocol say it is not relevant now, as developing nations such as China and India will not have binding targets to curb substantially growing emissions. China is now the biggest emitter in the world, and by its own admission its emissions are set to grow fivefold before they begin to decline. The United States, which is the second largest emitter in the world, has never entered the Kyoto Protocol.
Image courtesy of NASA: Hurricane Sandy