Paris agreement unstoppable, Trump will change mind: UN chief
Marrakech, Nov 15 (IANS) United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon on Tuesday said he is confident that US President-elect Donald Trump would distance himself from his election rhetoric against the Paris Climate Change Agreement, saying “now it has become unstoppable”.
“As you may know, last week I spoke to President-elect, Mr. Trump and I brought up many issues, peace and security issues, including the issue of climate change. I remain very optimistic about our effort to combat climate change,” Ban told reporters here.
Terming it historic, he said the Paris agreement, now ratified by 109 countries, has come into force in record time.
“Never in the history of the United Nations, any convention, agreement or treaty has entered into force in such a short period of time. And it also has the highest number of member statesaso it has established a lot of records, in fact.
“The global unity around climate change once seemed to be unthinkable but now it has become unstoppable,” said an optimistic Secretary General, who is going to demit office in just one-and a-half months after a 10-year-long tenure.
“I am too much optimistic about the Paris agreement continuation,” Ban told this IANS correspondent to a query on the sidelines of the media briefings.
The global business community is now fully on board and moving forward to decarbonise and lessen their carbon footprint, said Ban, who is here attend the high-level segment of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) conference – his last UN climate conference as Secretary General.
According to him, every member of the United Nations has signed on to the Paris agreement. “Delegations were not forced to sign. They signed on because they believe that it’s in the interest of their own country, and it’s in the interest of the whole world and planet Earth.”
He said now the Paris agreement has come into force and that he would discuss the impact of climate change with Trump more in detail personally.
“I raised this issue and I am looking forward to another meeting in person with him (Trump) and will discuss on all matters of our common concern, including climate change.”
In reply to another question, Ban said: “I think most of all the countries, 193 now, they have signed and more than 75 percent of global greenhouse emissions accounted for by 109 countries (that ratified). So it is wholehearted commitment…as President of the US, I am sure that he (Trump) will understand this.”
Tracing the US President-elect roots as a smart businessman, the Secretary General said: “However, my sense is that as a very successful business person in the past, before being elected, I believe that he understands that there are market forces already at work on this issue and that we need to harness these forces for the good of the planet.”
Batting for the continuation of the climate initiatives by the next UN Secretary General too, he said more than 3,000 scientists around the world have repeatedly issued assessment reports that climate change has been happening.
“We don’t have plan B because there is no planet B. We have to work very hard, very seriously and urgently. This what I am telling, not as only Secretary-General, but as one the citizens of this world,” he added.
(Vishal Gulati is in Marrakech to cover COP22. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)