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|UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is
visiting the Arctic Circle in Norway to draw attention to the need
for action at climate change talks in December.
Mr Ban said it was "absolutely crucial" that world leaders took
In December, leaders must agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol
for cutting carbon emissions, which are believed to cause global
Scientists warn that the results of climate change could be
catastrophic if greenhouse gas production is unchecked.
Mr Ban began his trip to the Arctic Circle by saying he wanted to
see for himself the melting polar ice cap.
But a planned visit to the North Pole was later delayed because of
bad weather, and it is not yet clear when he will be able to travel
After boarding a Norwegian coast guard vessel, he told journalists
he was trying to inject some urgency into current negotiations for a
global treaty to cut carbon emissions.
Scientists warn that greenhouse gasses have caused Arctic ice to
melt even faster than predicted, something the UN chief said was
"If this trend is not stopped, we may have a virtually ice-free
Arctic within 30 years," said Mr Ban.
"This is quite alarming, therefore it is absolutely crucial that
world leaders are united to take urgent action. This is my
commitment, that is why I'm going to the Arctic."
The treaty is set to be finalised in Copenhagen by the end of the
year, but negotiations have been plagued by disputes over which
countries should make emissions cuts and by how much.
Mr Ban said he was strongly encouraged by the campaign promises of
Japan's newly-elected leader, Yukio Hatoyama, who pledged a 25%
emissions reduction by 2020.
The secretary general said he hoped other developed nations would
Earlier he defended himself against charges that he was a weak
leader who lacked charisma, a criticism leaked from an internal memo
drawn up by a senior Norwegian diplomat.
Mr Ban has been a strong advocate of action to stop climate change,
and is convening his own summit on 22 September to build political
momentum for the Copenhagen meeting.