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Climate change report issues wake-up call to world
Cat : Environment
Date : 2006-11-01 12:22:15                      Reader : 402
approved by UN. US is the most responsible for Earth pollution. Even Americans suffer from climate change . But for US, few industrials, are more important than world security including US.



Associated France Press (AFP) 1/11/2006

Climate change report issues wake-up call to world


by Katherine Haddon

LONDON (AFP) - World leaders must act urgently to avert a looming environmental catastrophe, the author of a major British report on climate change warned.
In a report which sounds a wake-up call, former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern singled out the United States, China and India as powerhouse nations whose backing is crucial for a global solution.

"There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally," he said, launching his 600-page report in London.

"The task is urgent. Delaying action even by a decade or two will take us into dangerous territory. We must not let this window of opportunity close."

His message was backed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was at the report's launch in central London with his finance minister and likely successor Gordon Brown.

"Should we fail to rise to this challenge, I don't believe we will be able to explain ourselves to future generations," said Blair.

He warned of potentially "disastrous" consequences unless action was taken urgently, adding that the world could not spare the five years it took to negotiate the Kyoto protocol.

This 1997 agreement to reduce greenhouse gases stalled after the United States failed to ratify it, with President George W. Bush claiming it would handicap US industry.

Blair said that negotiations started at last year's G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, were now "key" to securing action after the Kyoto agreement expires in 2012.

The Stern review estimates that worldwide inaction could cost the equivalent of between five and 20 percent of global gross domestic product every year, forever.

Britain's environment secretary David Miliband later told lawmakers that failure to act swiftly could cost more than World Wars I and II and the Great Depression of the 1930s combined.

By contrast, the cost of action is equivalent to one percent of GDP, a "manageable" increase equivalent to a one-off one percent goods price increase, Stern said.

Carbon pricing and policies to support low-carbon technologies are among the possible solutions proposed by the economist, who also advocated expanding international frameworks on emissions trading, technology cooperation, deforestation and adaptation to climate change.

Brown used the launch to announce that former US vice-president Al Gore, who earlier this year released "An Inconvenient Truth", a documentary about climate change, will become one of his personal advisors on green issues.

In an earlier BBC radio interview, Stern warned that global warming, if left unchecked, could have an impact many times worse than last year's Hurricane Katrina in the US.

He also suggested that rich countries should pay more than poor ones to offset their higher levels of carbon emissions.

His report, thought to be the first heavyweight contribution to the debate on climate change by an economist rather than a scientist, was welcomed by green groups and others.

"It clearly makes a case for action and climate change is not a problem that Europe can put in the 'too difficult' pile," European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said.

Hans Verolme, of environmental group WWF, said Stern had provided "a wake-up call to the world", while Beverley Darkin, of London's Chatham House think-tank, said it represented "a step-change in the way we think about climate change."

Elsewhere Monday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced that greenhouse gas emissions from the industrialised world are rising and the US remains the biggest polluter.

Excluding former Soviet bloc economies, industrialised nations saw an 11-percent increase in pollution from 1990-2004. From 2000-2004, the figure was two percent.

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