Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon predicted Tuesday that a robust agreement to combat climate change will be reached in Copenhagen and implemented immediately.

AP/Michael von Bülow08/12/2009 20:10
"From all corners of the globe we see unprecedented momentum for a deal," the UN chief told reporters at UN headquarters. "I’m encouraged and I’m optimistic."

Ban said for the Copenhagen conference to be a success, the agreement must include ambitious reductions in carbon emissions by developed countries as well as ambitious actions by poorer developing countries to curb emissions. Rich nations must also provide financial support and technological assistance to help developing countries limit their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, including floods and drought, he said.

"This agreement will have an immediate operational effect as soon as it is agreed," Ban said.

The secretary-general’s statement indicated that the UN wants the provisions in the political deal that will hopefully be reached in Copenhagen to be implemented quickly, without waiting for a legally binding treaty to be negotiated next year.

The UN chief said an agreement is likely between developed and developing countries on 10 billion US dollars in "short-term, fast-track" financing to help poorer countries until 2012. Financial support beyond that will be discussed at Copenhagen and beyond, he said.

Ban said he will open the high-level segment of the Copenhagen conference on Dec. 15 and expects 105 world leaders to attend the final sessions on Dec. 17-18 to push for an agreement. He singled out President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"Never have so many different nations of all size and economic status made so many firm pledges together," he said. "We must seize this moment, and continue pushing for still higher ambition."

"This will be crucially important for the future of humanity, and even for the planet Earth," Ban said.