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Legally-binding climate treaty expected in 2010: UN Secretary-General

[JURIST] A legally-binding treaty on climate change [JURIST new archives] should be ready in 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon [official website] announced [statement] Monday during the 13th Session [materials] of the General Conference of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) [official website]. Ban's comments come as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) [official website] is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 192-nation conference was originally designed to produce a global climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol [text, PDF; JURIST news archive], which expires in 2012. In his remarks to the 13th Session of the General Conference of the UNIDO, Ban said:

From all corners of the globe, we are seeing unprecedented momentum for governments to act quickly and decisively. Our shared goal is a fair and effective agreement that will reduce emissions while helping vulnerable communities adapt. Copenhagen can and must generate practical results right away while providing a firm foundation for a legally binding climate treaty as early as possible in 2010. Science demands that we act. So does economic common sense.

Ban added that industry is "central to this effort."

Last month, both Ban and US President Barack Obama expressed doubt [JURIST reports] that a climate change treaty could be reached during COP15. Director of the UN secretary-general's Climate Change Support Team Janos Pasztor expressed [press release] a similar view [JURIST report] in October. Negotiations on the new climate change treaty began [JURIST report] last year in Bangkok. In October, a UN official working on preparations for COP15 said US hesitancy to pass a climate bill could doom the conference [JURIST report]. The US never signed the Kyoto Protocol, but in March, the US Special Envoy on Climate Change announced [JURIST report] that the US is committed [video] to the creation of an international treaty designed to combat global warming, but such efforts will only succeed if they are economically feasible.

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