April 23, 2010

Emissions Should Be Halved By 2020: Conference

In Boliva on Thursday a "people's conference" on climate change agreed to call for the halving of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 at the next UN climate meeting in Mexico in December.

About 20,000 environmental activists, indigenous leaders and unionists called for "collective, then individual, obligations for the reduction of greenhouse gases," instead of the non-binding agreement that was brought forth after the Copenhagen summit last year.

Pablo Solon, the UN Ambassador to Bolivia, said that a 50 percent reduction could limit the warming of the planet to 34 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of the 35 degrees that was agreed in Copenhagen but without individual country pledges.

The three-day Cochabamba forum also recommended the creation of an international climate tribunal to judge countries on their part in global warming.

It promised to take the necessary steps to create a declaration of Earth rights and to organize an international referendum on the environment to coincide with the next Earth Day, which is April 22, 2011.

The conference followed a preparatory meeting of the world's leading economies in Washington ahead of the December UN summit in Cancun, Mexico.

The U.S. downplayed hopes of clinching a new climate treaty this year on Monday, saying it was unrealistic to expect despite the growing agreement among major nations.