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Nations not 'united in action' at Copenhagen, U.N. chief says

By Nikita Japra and Richard Roth, CNN
Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. are urging nations to formally sign a climate change accord to make a commitment to change.
Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. are urging nations to formally sign a climate change accord to make a commitment to change.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ban Ki-moon wants nations to sign Copenhagen Accord to fight climate change
  • Ban: "The leaders were united in purpose, but they were not yet united in action"
  • U.N. officials say final document is political, not a legally binding treaty
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United Nations (CNN) -- The U.N. secretary-general called upon the international community Monday to stand together by signing the Copenhagen Accord to fight climate change, after big power recriminations erupted soon after the Denmark conference wrapped up.

"The leaders were united in purpose, but they were not yet united in action," Ban Ki-moon said.

U.N. officials told reporters on Monday the final document is "political," not a legally binding treaty to curb global warming. The United Nations urged nations to formally sign the document and make commitments on their plans to improve their environmental efforts.

"The faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can build," Ban said.

Nearly 30 heads of state and other representatives of 194 nations were involved in creating the Copenhagen Accord. Ban called the agreement an overall success, but critics have questioned its effectiveness because it is not legally binding.

Ban said naysayers should be more "proactive" and "forthcoming" rather than "critical."

The secretary-general, who struggled to bridge the gaps among rich and poor countries in Copenhagen, said, "I am satisfied that we sealed a deal."

But he noted that the outcome of the conference "did not go as far as many would have hoped." Ban on Monday pledged his support to increase the world's "level of ambition" in meeting targets for funding and emission reductions.

He also expressed concern over the difficulty of representing the views of all 194 states during the final hours of "a very difficult" negotiation.

However, U.N. policy coordination chief Robert Orr said that the "essence" of the negotiations in Copenhagen involved Ban's last-minute move to meet with those who felt excluded from the process of creating the accord.

"The fact that this is somehow perceived of as a tiny group going off in a corner and doing the negotiation is not accurate," Orr said. "He felt the need to make sure that everyone was included."

Ban acknowledged that the decisions made at the summit "do not yet meet the scientific bottom line," but maintained that "they represent a beginning -- an essential beginning. We have taken an important step in the right direction."

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, representing one of the world's largest polluters, expressed a similar viewpoint. "We feel not unhappy with the outcome of Copenhagen," he said Monday. However, he added that "a tremendous amount of work" lies ahead.

By signing the Copenhagen Accord, nations commit to limiting the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the developed and the developing world, and funding $100 billion a year toward helping developing countries achieve these goals by 2020.

 
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