Monday, September 27, 2010

UNFCCC Head & Island Nations Urge Action On Climate Change

Sep 23: At a press conference in New York City, Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stressed the need for governments to move forward in their negotiations ahead of the major climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico [November 29 -December 10, 2010], where they will be expected to conclude agreements related to issues such as technology transfer, mitigation and adaptation, and funding.
    Figueres said, "We are barely two months before the UN climate change conference in Cancun -- the place where governments need to take the next firm step on humanity's long journey to meet the full scale challenge of climate change. Their negotiating session in Tianjin, just a week from now [October 4-9, 2010], is where governments will need to cut down the number of options they have on the table, indentify what is achievable in Cancún and muster political compromises that will deliver what needs to be done at Cancún.
    "Governments from both industrialized and developing worlds have made many pledges to cut and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Industrialized countries have promised both short and long-term funding to help developing countries deal with climate change. Governments are converging on the need to mandate a full set of ways and means to launch a new wave of global climate action. At Cancún, they can decide how and when to capture these promises in accountable and binding ways. They can deliver the short -term finance for the urgent needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and they can decide on a package of measures to act.
    "This year has presented us with a series of disasters that have illustrated the vulnerability of all humanity to extreme climate events. Such impacts on society and economies are a mild taste of what science says will come, if we do not continuously raise our ambition to protect the global environment. There are four major trends shaping the future -- energy supply and security, natural resource depletion, population growth and climate change. And unchecked climate change is the flame that would make the other three burn most seriously.
    "Governments can stand together to turn these four threats into a new development paradigm that harnesses the full power of society, science and business . . . or they will fail divided. Let me be clear -- there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now. To expect that is naïve -- it does not do justice to the crucial steps already achieved since the beginning of the Convention and it dangerously ignores the need to keep innovating. However, I am certain the world can do this step by step. . . but only if we keep on walking firmly in the right direction, including at Cancún."
    On September 25, three Pacific Ocean countries appealed to United Nations Member States to act fast to combat climate change and start mobilizing the resources needed to mitigate the effects of global warming, especially in small island developing States that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. President Iroj Jurelang Zedkaia of the Marshall Islands during the third day of the General Assembly's high-level debate said, "Those most vulnerable and those willing to confront the challenges facing us must take leadership in this process by putting forward our own agreement spelling real and ambitious commitments and actions to address climate change -- we urge others to follow."
    Echoing the same message, the Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Alik Alik said, ". . .delays in adopting a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement to avert global climate disaster was inexcusable. . . we are deeply disappointed in the glacial progress at the negotiating sessions and climate change meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the same time, we are growing increasingly alarmed by the prospect of lowering ambitions for the meeting in Cancun, Mexico, later this year."
    Kiribati's President Anote Tong told the high-level debate that coastal erosion in heavily populated areas in his country is occurring at a rate that exceeded the Government's capacity to respond, adding that lack of resources is exacerbating the problem. He said, "Long before our islands are inundated by the rising seas, they will become uninhabitable as freshwater aquifers are contaminated by saltwater intrusion from rising tides,"
    Access the UNFCCC director's statement (click here). Access links to complete information on the upcoming Tianjin and Cancun meetings (click here). Access a release from the UN on the three island nations (click here).