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. UN Decries Biodiversity Decline Climate Change

Klaus Toepfer, outgoing chief of the UN Environmental Programme. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
The outgoing chief of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) on Thursday decried a steady decline in global biodiversity and lamented that the problem of climate change had yet to be taken seriously.

Klaus Toepfer, who will step down as director of the Nairobi-based UNEP in June, said that despite some improvements in the awareness of worrying trends, there was still not enough being done to avert potential catastrophe.

"Right now, we have still a quite a clear downward trend with regard to environmental stability," he told reporters at a farewell news conference in the Kenyan capital.

"We have an increase of CO2 emissions and we have not at all stabilised these emissions and we know that climate change is going on," he said.

"Its not a prognosis for the future, it is now, and yet this is of little concern," Toepfer said. "People are not concerned enough. Its really a huge problem."

He did not mention any specific offenders but his comments appeared to refer to positions taken by such leading world polluting countries as the United States, India and China that have refused to sign on to international pacts limiting emmissions of carbon dioxide which are believed responsible for global warming.

Toepfer said the decline in biodiversity, partly due to climate change, was hurting not only humans and their environment but also efforts to reduce poverty in line with the UN-backed Millenium Development Goals.

"This is not only a problem with regards to the stability or with respect to the diversity of human beings and nature," he said.

"Its a disaster for the economic targets because to decrease biodiversity means to decrease the knowledge library of nature for solving problems.

"We have such a lot of systems integrated in nature to solve problems, which we didnt discover until now and yet we are losing those solution possibilities and stability," he said.

Toepfer will hand over the UNEP reins to his successor Achim Steiner in June after eight years in office.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Auckland (AFP) Mar 30, 2006
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Wednesday for an international agreement on tackling climate change, but warned that any deal would fail unless it included the United States, China and India.

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