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New York climate summit a turning-point for govt action, says UN chief, as EU calls for halving GHGs by 2050

Posted by waterweek on 2 October 2007

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed a high-level summit as a turning point in the fight against climate change and said there was broad consensus for decisive action, reported The Canberra Times (26/9/2007, p.10).

“Science has spoken”: The UN summit on climate change in New York on Tuesday 25 September had resulted in “a clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough” at key talks to be held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in December, Ban said. The Bali talks were aimed at jump-starting talks to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which sought to curb climate-warming emissions. “Science has spoken clearly. Now we need a political answer,” he said.

Onus on rich nations: The summit was attended by about 150 countries, more than 80 of them at the level of head of state or government, making it the most senior gathering in UN history on global warming. European countries called for the world to set a target of halving emissions by 2050 compared with a 1990 benchmark and to peg global warming to 2 degrees to limit damage to Earth’s fragile climate system. But developing countries at the summit said the onus was on rich ones to cut their emissions beyond 2012 and not look to poorer countries to sign up to binding pollution cuts, as this could prejudice their rise out of poverty. Indian Finance Minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, pointed out that India’s per-capita emission of carbon dioxide “is among the lowest in the world – it is approximately one tonne per annum, as against a world average of four tonnes per annum”.

Problem getting worse: The chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, summarised the IPCC’s fourth assessment report, issued earlier this year. Glaciers and Arctic sea ice were retreating rapidly and “major precipitation changes” – droughts and floods – were occurring. On present trends, hundreds of millions of people faced worsening water scarcity as a result of glacier loss in the Himalayas, which fed key rivers in China and South Asia. Water scarcity would affect the growing of key crops. “Climate change is accelerating,” Dr Pachauri said.

The Canberra Times, 26/9/2007, p. 10


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