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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2006 / 1115

1115

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friends of the Earth International

Wednesday November 15, 2006

CLIMATE IS CHANGING BUT ... TALKS ARE SLOWING

NAIROBI (Kenya), November 15, 2006 - The sense of urgency is missing but needed at once in Nairobi where ministers from 165 countries and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are gathering today for the last three days of United Nations talks on climate change. [1]

Confronted with the latest dramatic evidence of the impacts of rising greenhouse gas emissions, ministers are seeking international agreement on future action. Key to the talks is action after 2012, when the first phase of the Kyoto climate change treaty ends.

"Some countries have been slow to recognise the problem and seem to want to delay global action – but if they take their heads out of the sand, they may realise that the only way to tackle climate change is by actually reducing the levels of greenhouse gases they emit," said Catherine Pearce of Friends of the Earth International.

"We must not lose the momentum gathered so far; we need to see far quicker and more drastic actions to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those living in Africa," she added.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement that actually requires countries to cut their carbon emissions, and most nations see it as the main instrument to fight climate change. The current commitments of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change end in 2012.

"We must see ministers put us on a pathway to agree a post 2012 agreement. This requires a clear work programme with a clear end date to ensure that this agreement is reached by the end of 2008, in order to avoid a gap between commitment periods," said Catherine Pearce of Friends of the Earth International.

"Industrialised countries have to lead, with all countries working to agree a mandate to take us into formal negotiations at the next UN climate meeting in 2007. These preparations must start now here in Nairobi," she added.

A UK government-commissioned report released last October showed that if significant global action is not taken rapidly, climate change could push the world into the worst recession in recent history, comparable to the downturn of the great depression and two world wars [2].

The Stern review also warned that if no action was taken on emissions, there was more than a 75% chance of global temperatures rising between 2 and 3 degrees celsius over the next 50 years, resulting in melting glaciers, causing floods, a decline in crop yields and an increase in extreme weather. More than 200 million people could also be permanently displaced because of rising sea levels, the review said.

Campaigners following the talks report that some major polluters including Australia, Canada and the US are attempting to derail the talks by making misleading claims that the Protocol is a failure and will not deliver results for the environment or the economy.

However, most countries support the affected communities and civil society organisations that want ministers here to agree that further Kyoto action is urgently needed and there should be no gap between current and future commitments after 2012.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IN NAIROBI, KENYA:

Catherine Pearce, Friends of the Earth International climate campaign coordinator, Tel: + 44 7811 283 641 (UK mobile) or Tel: + 254 (0) 720 828 889 (Kenyan mobile valid until Nov. 17 only)

Jan Kowalzig, Friends of the Earth Europe climate campaigner, Tel: + 32-496-384696 (Belgian mobile)

Erasmus Aborley, Friends of the Earth Ghana, +254 (0)720827588 (Kenya mobile until Nov.17 only)

Yuri Onodera, Friends of the Earth Japan, Tel: +254 (0) 720827577 (Kenyan mobile valid until Nov. 17 only)

Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth Australia, Tel: +254 (0) 720 827 577 (Kenyan mobile valid until Nov. 17 only)

Donald Pols, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Tel: +31 6 20801096 (Dutch mobile)

Friends of the Earth International media line: Kenya mobile +254 (0) 721 478 841 (Kenyan mobile valid until Nov. 17 only) or Dutch mobile: +31-6-51005630

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] The UN climate change website is www.unfccc.int

[2] The Stern report draws a gloomy picture on climate change impacts on the global economy but also says that averting the crisis is well within our hands - at the costs of 1% of global GDP, avoiding economic damages of about 10% of global GDP. Read the 'Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change', published 30 October 2006 at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm

 

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