US most important country for climate deal: UN chief

US most important country for climate deal: UN chief

United Nations: Stressing that failed action on climate change could have catastrophic consequences, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has asked the US to take a leading role in ensuring a successful outcome of the Copenhagen conference next month.

“No country is more important than the US in resolving this climate change issue," Ban said, after meeting with Congressional leaders and Washington’s top brass including US Senators John Kerry, Richard Lugar and Joe Lieberman.

“All eyes of the world are looking to the US and to this august body, the US Senate," he said, adding that the Copenhagen Climate Conference should yield “a robust, global agreement that can serve as a foundation for a climate treaty."

Around 192 countries that will meet in the Danish capital next month are expected to hammer out a climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol since the first commitment period under this treaty ends in 2012.

Ban underlined that battling climate change would involve economic costs to all nations in the short-term but delaying action would leave all of humanity suffering in the long-run.

“Inaction will mean a weakened economic recovery, a loss of global competitiveness, increased global instability and further human suffering," Ban said.

“A global agreement on the other hand will unleash investments that will do more than any single other action could do to jump-start and sustain global economic recovery," he noted.

While US President Barack Obama has termed climate change as a big challenge, the American position in Copenhagen depends largely on the treatment of the domestic Climate Change Bill, which is pending in the US Senate and is not expected to be passed before the conference in Denmark.

“From what I heard today, there is great support in the Senate for action on climate change," said Ban

“But for some, there are lingering doubts about whether we can afford to take action during this hard economic crisis."

The UN chief highlighted that Obama had shown initiative in addressing the climate problem, and the US President’s signal of participating in Copenhagen sent the right message to build political momentum.

“Copenhagen offers us all an unprecedented opportunity. We must use our time before that historic gathering for maximum effort," he added.