UN chief heads south to check out climate change

November 6, 2007

SnowU.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will find his diplomatic skills tested on a trip this month to Antarctica, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

His visit to Antarctica comes as China, Chile, Britain and others are scrambling to stake claims to the territory. Here’s the latest from Beijing on competing claims to the area that is protected by a 1959 treaty which prevents mineral exploitation of the continent except for scientific research.

Then in Brazil, Ban plans to visit an ethanol plant to make up his own mind about an issue that has sparked fierce controversy. One U.N. expert said recently converting food crops to fuel was a “crime against humanity” — click here to read that story.

ethanol2.jpg Ban was diplomatic when asked where he stands on biofuels before his departure on Tuesday. 

 “The U.N. research report published this year underscored that biofuels (have) greater promise in addressing these global warming issues through low-carbon emissions,” Ban said.

“At the same time … it is true that there are some concerns expressed, by specialists or experts, on the possible impact on food security,” he said. 

 “The elimination of extreme poverty should be also a top priority. Therefore, how to reconcile or have some balanced development addressing these issues will be very important.” 

We already have a debate going on this subject here, so tell us what you think.

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