Affluent countries must agree to quantifiable cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that are far deeper than previously pledged, or the upcoming global talks on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be a failure, Chile’s leader warned the General Assembly today.
Addressing the annual General Debate, President Michelle Bachelet said she wanted to “sound the alarm” that unless countries coordinate their levels at the highest level, then the talks in the Danish capital in December will not produce an agreement setting limits on gas emissions that can go into effect when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012.
“We risk failure in what is the most urgent cause to be taken up by the world at this time,” Mrs. Bachelet said, noting the efforts of the UN this week – including the high-level summit hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday – to try to build momentum on the issue.
“We have the ability to correct the course of our future. Let us not use the economic crisis as an excuse for not reaching an agreement that our citizens are demanding.”
Mrs. Bachelet urged industrialized nations to “adopt quantifiable goals for more ambitious emissions reductions than those currently existing. If they assume their historical responsibility with deeds, and not only words, and if they undertake to provide the necessary technological and financial support, then the developing world will be able to make an even greater effort to meet this challenge.”
Monaco’s Prince Albert II also spotlighted the issue of climate change in his address, stressing that “a failure in the Copenhagen negotiations shouldn’t be an option” and urging his counterparts to live up to their previous commitments.
“We must, together, developed countries, countries with high CO2 emissions, developing countries, succeed in defining a post-Kyoto agenda strictly in line with a low carbon-emission future.”
He called for more innovative measures to combat or adapt to the impact of climate change to try to prevent more catastrophic effects in the future.
For his part, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani emphasized the important of clean and renewable sources of energy – especially solar energy, which is abundant in the Persian Gulf country.
“Qatar looks forward to a more intensive international effort in sharing information and expertise in the development of solar and other renewable energies, and urges developed countries to provide modern technologies in this area and contribute to implementing and financing renewable energy projects around the world,” the Emir said.
He noted that while his country has enough energy reserves to meet its needs for decades, “we are fully aware of the future challenges facing the international communities in terms of the implications of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and their negative effects on sustainable development projects.”