January 30, 2009

Leaders Discuss Global Climate Change Policies

World leaders convened in Denmark on Friday to discuss revolutionary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

"It is essential to engage heads of state and government stronger in the whole process to ensure a positive result in Copenhagen," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's prime minister.

Proposals came in the lead-up to a year-end meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, during which leaders are expected to draw up new plans and regulations for battling global warming and climate change.

Nobel Laureate Al Gore addressed those in attendance on Friday calling for "a clear, shared vision of where the world is going in the future."

"The assumption that we can continue on this path is the assumption that we are collapsing," said Gore.

World leaders have been encouraged by the new US President Barack Obama's aggressive approach to tackling the climate crisis. Gore called on other leaders to follow his example.

"The new administration is very serious about this," Gore said. "Obama is the greenest person in the room [White House]. He is pushing hard for a dramatic and bold move in the right direction. If other governments do the same then we can make the change to a low-carbon future."

"For the last eight years a few countries have been hiding behind the U.S.," Steve Howard, head of Britain's The Climate Group, a non-profit group working for climate change, told Reuters.

"Now there is no place to hide because the U.S. is assuming a leadership position, so the politics took a fundamental shift."

Rasmussen told leaders that it is most important leaders to commit to reducing their current levels of CO2 emissions.

"The essential thing is to agree on clear targets because it is a prerequisite for creating a private market," said Rasmussen. "Policies we need to overcome financial crises are the same to combat climate change "¦ green efficiency is sound economics."

He said that the rich world should cut by 30 percent versus 1990 levels and developing countries by 15-30 percent against current trends by 2020.

The call to reduce climate change could also answer the world's economic crisis, Rasmussen added.

"There is no contradiction between an ambitious climate policy and our endeavors to overcome the financial crisis," he said.

Yvo De Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: "I think we already have a shared vision," he said.

"This indicates that we have to get this right in Copenhagen."


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