Ban Ki-Moon’s position on climate change is clear. As the UN Secretary General, he initiated the climate change summit in 2007, and put the issue at the forefront of the UN agenda. As world and local leaders gather in Bonn, Germany for the latest climate conference this week, Ban met with finance and business leaders at the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Florida.
In discussing climate change and the implications of the Paris Climate Accord with the attendees, Ban turned to the audience at one point.
“I hope as responsible business leaders, you should speak out. This will affect your business opportunities. Let’s work together on this issue,” he said.
In the absence of a U.S. presence in the Paris deal, Ban highlighted that many American cities and businesses are getting involved, following the the deal’s guidelines for nations around the world. Ban said the absence of the U.S. not only affects the climate, but potentially its leadership position in the world.
“The U.S. should take global leadership again. If they do not, there will be a vacuum. That vacuum will be filled by other countries asserting their leadership. We don’t want that to happen,” he said adding that the world looks to the U.S. looks to the world for economic leadership.
Though he urges action on climate change, Ban says realistic expectations are also necessary. Major economies like China are still largely operating on coal, though China has a sustainable energy program that includes hydro and solar power, he says.
“China’s leadership is very aware of their problems,” he says. I’m urging all countries as quickly as possible to move toward sustainable energy.”