U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke with ABC News' Bill Blakemore at U.N. headquarters in New York shortly before Ban presided over the largest-ever gathering of world leaders to address global warming. The following is a full transcript of their interview, with slight edits removing incidental comments about aircraft noise overhead:
BILL BLAKEMORE (BB): Secretary General, thank you for honoring us with this inaugural interview on Nature's Edge and ABC News Now.
SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON (SG): It's a great pleasure to be with you.
BB: Thank you very much.
BB: How serious a crisis do you think this is, global warming?
SG: The science has made it quite clear. The impact has been felt seriously all around the world. We have resources, we have technologies. We must address this issue. This is a global challenge, thus requires global action. Now only lacking largely is a political will. At the level of leaders, we must generate a strong political will. This is the main purpose of my convening high level dialect on climate change on September 24.
BB: Some of the scientists, a growing number of them, are writing books and saying in public that they believe this crisis is so serious, that if we go on with business as usual, it could seriously lead to the collapse of civilization even in the lifetime of today's children. Do you think this is accurate? Do think it is possibly this serious?
SG: I think that is a correct assessment. People say that action should have been taken yesterday. If we take action today, it may not be too late. We may be able to address. We have resources. We have technology. If we solidify political will, we can deliver this earth planet to our future generations in a more hospitable and environmentally sustainable world. The leaders of this era must feel the great historic responsibility for entire human being. This is an issue effecting entire human being, regardless where you are from, developing or industrialized countries. We must pool the resources and wisdom all together. A common action is needed now. Time is of essence.
BB: Before we discuss the specific role of the UN, what do you hope your role, the Secretarys General's role, will be as we see the temperature go up for the next few years?
SG: My role as Secretary General is to generate the political will, raising the awareness of the urgency. I think I have been successful in raising the awareness and urgency of this issue. In that regard, I am encouraged. But what is necessary from now on, we must give clear and focused and credible and very strong guidelines to Bali meetings in December, which will be the first official beginning of negotiation. I know that each country has their own challenges and problems and they are taking all necessary initiatives. All initiatives and measures should be integrated into through United Nations negotiation forum, which is United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. I am encouraged that there is a wide consensus on this issue.
BB: Many people look at the United Nations and the history of these past sixty years and they say, 'But we see so much war and disagreement and debates and arguments in the Security Council.' What special role does the United Nations have and how can it do it now?