WASHINGTON — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged member nations Monday to reach a compromise ahead of a climate change summit scheduled for December in Copenhagen and called on the United States to stay engaged.
"All agree that climate change is an existential threat to humankind," Ban wrote in an op-ed article published by The New York Times. "Yet agreement on what to do still eludes us."
Ban said he was encouraged by the spirit of compromise shown in the bipartisan initiative announced last week by US Senators John Kerry and Lindsey Graham.
Earlier this year, the US House of Representative passed sweeping legislation designed to control greenhouse gas effect, but the US Senate has not acted yet.
The Kerry-Graham compromise is designed to secure progress on the issue.
Ban said the world cannot afford another period where the United States stands on the sidelines of the climate change debate.
"An engaged United States can lead the world to seal a deal to combat climate change in Copenhagen," the UN secretary general pointed out.
"An indecisive or insufficiently engaged United States will cause unnecessary -- and ultimately unaffordable -- delay in concrete strategies and policies to beat this looming challenge."