ABC News Online, 22 September 2009
By Sabra Lane in New York for AM
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has told world leaders that they have a moral imperative to sign a new agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in December.
Mr Ban issued the warning as he attended the launch of Climate Week at the New York State Library alongside Australian actor Hugh Jackman and former British prime minister Tony Blair.
The UN secretary-general says climate change is happening, and he says it's frightening.
"This is a political and moral imperative for all of us," he warned.
Mr Blair admitted negotiations on the deal were tougher than any other he has encountered.
"I went to the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, but this I think is possibly more difficult than any of them," he said.
Jackman said he felt obliged to speak up for the poor after taking a first-hand look at the affects of global warming and meeting an Ethiopian man named Takali and his family.
"I'm going to use the best weapon I have, which is not the Wolverine claws, or my mutant powers, but my voice," he said.
"To speak on behalf of Takali and the billion other people in developing countries who, well they contribute the least to climate change and yet they are hit the hardest by it. Simply stated, we must not forget the poor."
It is a message he hopes will sink in at tomorrow's special one-day UN conference on climate change.
Earlier in the day Mr Ban met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a brief chat. The two men will attend a working dinner tonight to discuss the summit.
Mr Rudd will also be the co-chairman of a round-table discussion tomorrow, giving leaders the opportunity to thrash out their differences behind closed doors.
Rudd turns salesman
Earlier Mr Rudd delivered a breakfast briefing to investors and ratings agencies in New York, to lobby executives about investing in Australia.
The prime minister addressed more than 25 business leaders on the Australian economy and investment opportunities, including the Gorgon liquid natural gas project in Western Australia.
The briefing was held at the lavish boardroom of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in a Manhattan skyscraper.
The chairman of Pratt Industries, Andrew Pratt, was among the guests, which also included representatives from financial services group Morgan Stanley and ratings agency Moody's.
It is understood Mr Rudd delivered a formal presentation to executives, stressing the point that Australia was one of the few advanced economies in the world not in recession.