Climate action can boost economy and health: Ban

Speaking in Copenhagen on Sunday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pleaded for action on climate change.

Climate action can boost economy and health: Ban
Ban Ki-moon, shown here at a press conference in Addis Ababa last week, said in Copenhagen on Sunday that he would throw his political weight beyond the IPCC report. Photo: Zacharias Abubeker/Scanpix
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday threw his weight behind a massive report on climate change, saying that putting the brakes on carbon emissions would help economic growth and health.
"Human influence on the climate system is clear, and clearly growing," Ban said at a Copenhagen press conference marking the final chapter in a major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"I am really adding my political voice to what scientists have been working very, very hard (on)," he said. "Action on climate change can contribute to economic prosperity, better health and more liveable cities."
Ban has made climate change a hallmark of his tenure at the United Nations.
On September 23rd, he hosted a special summit to pique top-level interest in negotiations under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
World talks have been troubled for years over which countries must shoulder the burden for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions — the heat-trapping fossil-fuel gases driving global warming.
After years of preparation, the negotiations are heading for a climax in Paris in December 2015, where the hope is to seal a global pact that will take effect from 2020.
An important stepping stone in the process will be a new round taking place in Lima from December 1-12.
UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres said the IPCC report — issued in volumes over the last 13 months — was a powerful contribution.
"There is a strong head of positive steam building towards Lima and Paris," Figueres said in a statement.
"The IPCC has and will continue to play a crucial role in bringing forward the science upon which the transformational policies needed to realise a low-carbon, and ultimately climate-neutral world in the second half of the century, can be forged."

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Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Denmark's parliament has given the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen's harbour waters from rising sea levels at the same times as providing homes for 35,000 people.

Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen
How the island will look while udner construction. Photo: By og Havn

The bill empowering the government to push ahead with the project passed with a massive majority of 85 in favour and 12 against, opening the way for work to push ahead on the 2.8 square kilometer island early as this autumn.

In a short debate on Friday morning, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

“Of the bills I have helped to implement here in the parliament, this is the one which has been most thoroughly discussed, with expert consultations, technical reviews, and almost 200 questions to the Ministry of Transport, which have been answered by the rapporteurs,” he said. “So in terms of process, it is completely worked out.”


Ahead of the vote protesters from the Stop Lynetteholm Facebook group staged a protest outside the parliament, with many dressed in Sean the Sheep costumes. 

Protesters dressed as sheep staged a demonstration against the Lynetteholm project outside the parliament. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The parliamentary vote is not the last hurdle.

The project is also being challenged in the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  have looked at the impact of constructing the island itself, but not of the roads, metro lines, housing and other developments which will go on it.

Lynetteholm is being built partly as a coastal protection project, with a dam that will protect Copenhagen from future storm surges.

The plan was first announced in 2018 by the then Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the then Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.