UN leader Ban Ki-moon today called for “urgent” action on measures to counter climate change, as he praised Australia for signing on to a new round of the Kyoto Protocol environmental protection treaty.

Ban called on other Governments to follow Australia’s example and “congratulates Prime Minister Gillard for her leadership,” said a UN spokesman, Farhan Haq.

“Addressing climate change is fundamental for achieving sustainable development. Urgent action is needed,” Ban was quoted as saying.

“The Secretary-General calls on all Governments to take decisive steps against climate change at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Qatar,” said the spokesman.

Australia, one of the world’s biggest per capita polluters, earlier announced that it was ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. So far, only the European Union and some smaller economies have signalled they are ready to agree to new pledges.

Annual negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) start in Qatar on November 26. The first round of Kyoto pledges expires on December 31.

(This article was published on November 10, 2012)
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