"GENEVA -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Thursday for swifter work on a climate treaty, saying inaction could spell economic disaster and a rise in sea levels of up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) by 2100.
'We cannot afford limited progress. We need rapid progress,' he told a 155-nation climate conference in Geneva of negotiations on a new United Nations deal to combat global warming that is due to be agreed in December in Copenhagen.
'Climate change could spell widespread economic disaster,' Ban said, urging action to promote greener growth.
'By the end of this century, sea levels may rise between half a meter and two meters,' he said. That would threaten small island states, river deltas and cities such as Tokyo, New Orleans or Shanghai, he said.
His sea level projection is above the range of 18 to 59 cms (7-24 inches) given in 2007 by the U.N.'s own panel of experts. Their estimates did not include the possibility of an accelerated melt of vast ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland."
Alister Doyle and Sven Egenter report for Reuters September 3, 2009.