Climate change: World’s destiny at stake: Big economies told

Ministers from economies accounting for 80 percent of the globe’s greenhouse gases met here yesterday and heard warnings that “the world’s destiny” may lie in the outcome of a mooted climate change pact.

French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, opening the gathering of the so-called Major Economies Forum (MEF), pointed to the aim of forging a planet-wide treaty in Copenhagen in December under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“The world’s destiny will probably be at stake in Copenhagen,” Borloo said in a brief address.

He spoke out against those who said the proposed deal would cripple the world’s economy.

“Copenhagen is not a retrograde vision, it’s not the start of negative growth, but a new start for strong, sustainable, sober carbon development,” he said.

The 192-nation UNFCCC process aims at securing cuts in emissions of heat-trapping carbon gases and setting in place a rampart against climate change.

It would take effect after 2012, when the current provisions of the convention’s Kyoto Protocol run out.

But the negotiations — due to resume in Bonn on Monday — are extremely complex and have been hampered by many differences.

The MEF’s role is to try to identify common ground among the world’s biggest emitters and then hand this consensus back to the UNFCCC for approval.

The Paris meeting of the MEF, which runs until Tuesday, will cover financing and the transfer of clean technology, Borloo said.

The Forum was launched by US President Barack Obama last month on the back of a similar initiative by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Its participants include Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States, as well as the European Union (EU).

Denmark, as host of the December climax, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, are also invited to the dialogue.

A summit of MEF countries will take place in Italy in July, probably on the heels of a G8 summit there, Washington’s top climate negotiator, Todd Stern, told AFP on Sunday.

Source: The Daily Star, 26 May 2009


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