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Gore calls for July summit to finish climate treaty

UN system to cut its carbon footprint
United Nations (AFP) Dec 15, 2009 - The United Nations system spews out the equivalent of 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and plans to reduce the amount, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Tuesday. "The UN emits the equivalent of 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxyde annually, of which approximately one million tons come from peacekeeping operations," he told a press briefing. "This inventory is a first step in cutting back emissions. The UN will now work towards a common approach on emission reductions and also towards emission reduction strategies for each UN institution," he added as UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in Copenhagen for the high-stakes climate change summit. "We know what we must do. We know what the world expects. Our job here and now is to seal the deal, a deal in our common interest," Ban said in the Danish capital. The UN secretary general urged "a deal that reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, that protects the most vulnerable, that ushers in a new era of clean development and green growth for all." The Copenhagen conference, which will climax on Friday with a summit of some 120 heads of state and government, aims to agree an outline deal of national pledges to curb carbon emissions and set up a mechanism to provide billions of dollars for poor countries in the firing line of climate change.
by Staff Writers
Copenhagen (AFP) Dec 15, 2009
Former US vice president and environmental activist Al Gore called Tuesday for world leaders to meet in Mexico City in July to complete a climate treaty under negotiation in Copenhagen.

Gore told a standing-room audience in the Danish capital that a summit in Mexico City previously scheduled near the end of next year was too late and too close to mid-term US elections.

"I do not believe that we can wait until next November or next December," said Gore, a Nobel peace prize winner for his work on raising awareness of climate change.

He called for activists to "join with me proposing that the next meeting of ministers and heads of state take place in July in Mexico City."

"I have reason to believe that the Mexican government is willing to consider undertaking the enormous amount of work that would be involved to move the date of the next meeting to the middle of the summer," he said.

Gore urged delegates to be as ambitious as possible in the Copenhagen conference that is scheduled to close on Friday but said it was virtually impossible to seal a binding treaty by then.

Developed and developing nations remain at loggerheads on key points, while the US Senate has yet to complete legislation for the world's largest economy to impose nationwide curbs on carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

But Gore, himself a former senator and ally of President Barack Obama, said he expected the legislation to pass -- and called for a deadline.

"I will ask my fellow US citizens who share my sense of urgency to join me in asking President Obama and the leadership of the US Senate to set a deadline of April 22, 2010 -- the 40th anniversary of Earth Day -- for final action on the US legislation," Gore said.

Gore said that only "reckless fools" reject the science behind global warming.

"We cannot allow Copenhagen to become Doha," Gore said, referring to long-stalled negotiations on a global free trade pact.

Future generations "will not care very much about some of the disputes that are raging here in this conference," he said.

"They will find it difficult to understand how some of these disputes could be allowed to interfere with the result that is essential for the survival of our civilization."

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Walkouts heighten fears of climate treaty failure
Copenhagen (AFP) Dec 15, 2009
Negotiators worked through the night Tuesday to prevent a UN climate summit from ending in catastrophic failure after developing nations staged a five-hour walkout and China accused the West of trickery. As the White House said Barack Obama wants a deal that imposes "meaningful steps" to combat global warming, ministers admitted they had to start making giant strides before 120 heads of ... read more

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