Climate experts call for clear programme to fight global warming
Aug 2, 2007, 0:39 GMT
New York - Scientists and business leaders joined the United Nations on Wednesday to urge government leaders to provide clear guidance on future plans to tackle global warming and reduce harmful carbon emissions.
A two-day conference in the UN General Assembly - the first exclusively on global warming in the body's history - sought to foster a political consensus on the issue and drum up support for a climate change summit on September 24 to be attended by world leaders.
The meeting will be held on the sidelines of the annual UN summit in New York, which will kick off the 62nd session of the world body. Attendance at the climate change summit is expected to be high, UN officials said.
A two-week conference is also planned for December in Bali, Indonesia - the last phase following a series of UN-backed reports on the causes and effects of climate change compiled by world scientists and issued throughout this year.
Officials also hope the Bali meeting will set the groundwork for negotiating a new Kyoto Protocol - the global treaty committing members to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which expires in 2012.
'We need signals from heads of state and government to guide the Bali conference,' said Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which seeks to coordinate the world's response to global warming.
'What I would expect and hope Bali would do is to agree on a negotiating agenda in the next two years, that would basically craft the post 2012 climate change agenda,' De Boer said.
He said completing the talks in 2009 is important so governments can ratify the new protocol in time for its entry into force in 2012.
De Boer expected China, India, Brazil and Mexico to play an important role in the talks as those fast growing economies look to take measures to curb carbon emissions while maintaining economic growth.
But participants in this week's UN conference on climate change voiced concerns over whether developing countries would be able to maintain economic growth and fight poverty while at the same time curb carbon emissions as demanded by the international community, de Boer said.
He said the world is expected to invest up to 20 trillion dollars in developing energy sources over the next 20 or 25 years as economies in many countries are expected to grow larger.
But at the same time, carbon emissions that are the root cause of rising global temperatures are also expected to increase.
Participants said that despite the Kyoto Protocol, which focuses on carbon reduction, no governments have been able to build a low- carbon economy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of hundreds of scientists from scores of countries, earlier this year published three reports on the cause and effects of global warming, concluding that rising temperatures were 'most likely' the result of human activity.
The IPCC reports, which were lauded as dispelling any uncertainties on climate change, said global temperature rose by 0.74 degrees Celsius in the last century and forecast another 3 degrees of warming during the 21st century.
Pakistan's minister for the environment, Mukhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, speaking on behalf of the bloc of developing countries in the UN - including China, India and Brazil - told the conference that developing countries are already witnessing the effects of global warming.
The bloc called for reaching an agreement on the 2012 Kyoto Protocol during the Bali conference.
'With the clock continuing to click, we need to move fast and act before climate change turns into a climate crises,' the Pakistani diplomat said. 'A comprehensive and clear timeframe evolved in Bali will be an adequate and visible measure of the success of our deliberations.'© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur