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UN to add YouTube to live TV for climate momentum

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. is turning to YouTube to jolt the world’s plodding climate diplomacy into higher gear.

Instead of relying solely on live television, organizers’ of the U.N. chief’s Sept. 22 climate summit said Tuesday they’ve asked some world leaders to make pre-recorded video statements for release on a summit Web site and on YouTube.

Progress toward a new global climate treaty in December in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been moving way too slow and there are only about 15 days left for negotiators to meet, Janos Pasztor, director of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s climate change support team said Tuesday.

“If things were wonderful, we wouldn’t need a summit,” he said.

In his debut appearance at the U.N., where he is promising a new U.S. era of global cooperation, President Barack Obama will participate in closed talks with other leaders on how to reach a climate deal. Obama is one of a handful of heads of states whose speeches will be carried on live TV, according to the White House.

Obama also will attend a luncheon and dinner hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hopes to spark climate-related discussions about food, water, energy, financing and disaster preparedness with 10 people seated at each table.

Ban has made climate change his No. 1 priority this year. Nations are seeking a pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which bound 37 industrial countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent of 1990 levels by 2012.

An Obama administration official noted that climate problems are a priority for Ban and for the U.S. president.

In contrast to former President George W. Bush, who rejected the Kyoto Protocol in a belief that it would harm the U.S. economy and unfairly excluded major greenhouse gas emitters China and Russia, Obama supports mandatory emission reductions.