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Joint attack on climate change and poverty needed, Al Gore tells audience at UN

Joint attack on climate change and poverty needed, Al Gore tells audience at UN

A new Marshall Plan is needed to simultaneously tackle global warming and poverty, the environmental activist and former United States Vice-President Al Gore told an audience at United Nations Headquarters in New York today.

“We now face a global crisis that makes it abundantly clear that increased carbon dioxide emissions anywhere are a threat to the integrity of this planet’s climate everywhere,” Mr. Gore told a luncheon event called “Global Voices on Climate Change.”

The event, hosted by Denmark, Indonesia, Kenya and Poland, was held on the sidelines of the largest-ever gathering of world leaders on climate change.

Increased emissions are responsible for rising temperatures and rising sea levels, which combine to elevate both food and water insecurity worldwide, Mr. Gore said.

“The old divide between North and South, between developed and developing, is now obsolete,” he told the event’s participants, who included 40 heads of State or government, nine deputy prime ministers and vice presidents and 70 cabinet ministers from all over the world.

“We must link poverty reduction with the sharp reduction of carbon dioxide emissions,” he noted, calling for a plan of attack like that of the Marshall Plan, the post-World War II European reconstruction initiative of the US – to tie the struggles against climate change and poverty.

Mr. Gore also urged the completion of the negotiations for creating the successor to the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which will expire in 2012 – by 2009.

“We simply cannot wait longer,” he said, calling on heads of state to convene meetings every three months until a post-Kyoto treaty is agreed upon.

“We cannot continue business as usual,” he added. “We cannot continue at a slow pace.”