United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he hopes Pope Francis rallies the international community around climate change when he visits the city this month and addresses the UN General Assembly. The UN leader is thinking locally, too, though. He has some strong thoughts about homelessness in the city. Our Cheryl Wills sat down with the secretary general for an exclusive interview.
Ban Ki-moon has met with Pope Francis three times and during the pontiff's upcoming visit to New York, the UN secretary general says he hopes Francis makes climate change a moral issue.
“We need more outspoken in fact from pope we are wasting our time – we are abusing our planet Earth,” Ban said.
The president visited Alaska last week to call for action to fight climate change—but Republicans reject regulations as unnecessary. Ban says the issue is bigger than politics.
"I think whether you belong to Republican or Democrat—the debate on climate change is already over,” Ban said.
In our wide-ranging interview, the South Korean statesman condemned the U.N. Security Council's failure to end the violence in Syria and the UN's failure to address the refugees streaming into Europe.
"We've been failing. It was not necessary to wait until now five years but I don't have any guarantee when this may end,” he said.
The Secretary-General also endorsed the deal reached by President Obama and five other nations to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, a treaty Republicans and Israeli leaders bitterly oppose.
We also asked Ban about a crisis closer to home—the homeless on city streets.
“I’m very sorry and saddened whenever I see many homeless people in the richest country in the world richest city in the world,” Ban said.
But he made it clear City Hall—and Albany—must do more.
"I count on the mayor of New York City and governor of New York State to work much more to improve the quality of life,” Ban said.