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U.N. chief says Obama power plan key ahead of climate change talks

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© Reuters. The coal-fired Castle Gate Power Plant is pictured outside Helper, Utah

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday praised U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, saying such “visionary leadership” is needed ahead of negotiations on a global climate change deal.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a vital component of meeting a U.S. pledge on emissions cuts for the U.N. climate change summit in Paris in December. Washington has promised to slash emissions economy-wide by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Obama’s leadership on combating climate change was essential for encouraging other key countries to commit to securing a “universal, durable and meaningful agreement” in Paris, Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“We believe that this plan shows the United States determination to address global warming while also saving money and growing economy,” Dujarric said. “It also recognizes the obligation we all have to leave future generations a planet which provides opportunities for sustainable development.”

“The plan is an example of the visionary leadership necessary to reduce emissions and to tackle climate change,” he said.

Ban is due to meet with Obama in Washington on Tuesday to discuss climate change and other global issues.

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