COPENHAGEN - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an interview published on Sunday that he was optimistic the December 7-18 climate conference in the Danish capital would produce an agreement all member states would sign.
Delegates from 190 nations have descended on Copenhagen over the weekend for the U.N. climate change conference that starts on Monday and aims for a new global deal to replace provisions of the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012.
I am very optimistic for Copenhagen, Ban said in an interview in the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
We will get an agreement -- and, I believe, that the agreement will be signed by all U.N. member states which is historic, Ban said in the interview at his office at U.N. headquarters in New York.
We have the right political spirit, Ban said. All heads of state and government have the same goal -- to prevent global warming.
How to act to achieve that goal remains to be determined, the South Korean secretary-general said.
World leaders coming to Copenhagen will try to reach a political agreement on how to combat climate change.
Last month, Denmark upgraded the Copenhagen conference by inviting the heads of state and government of all 192 U.N. member states, hoping to gain the political clout for a deal.
So far 105 world leaders have accepted the invitation, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese leader Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Ban said that Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had done well to aim for a political agreement in Copenhagen, saying the idea had given dynamism to the negotiations.
With so many heads of state and government gathered, we will obviously enter an agreement, first a political agreement and immediately after that a legally binding document, Ban said. I am convinced that we will.
Ban also said that U.N. member nations had recognized the conclusions of the scientists on the U.N. climate panel.
Climate change is real, and it is happening now at an even faster pace than we believed just a few years ago, Ban said, according to the newspaper.
The meeting in Copenhagen is entirely the right moment to deal with it from the knowledge that we have, Ban said.
(Reporting by John Acher)