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UN To Solve Emissions Crisis

According to the Stern Review report and the Copenhagen conference, the solution to reducing global warming through greenhouse emissions lies with the United Nations.
by Jackson E. Kentebe
UPI Correspondent
United Nations (UPI) Nov 3, 2006
The United Nations will host a conference on climate change in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday to discuss ways to improve the climate amid British warnings of a worldwide disaster should governments fail to cooperate on global warming.

Members of the world body will also meet with parties to the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which made a commitment to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in their countries.

A decade ago, recurring questions about future climate problems raised by scientists from around the world saw the United Nations considering what could be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases were inevitable. This, subsequently, resulted in the creation of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Today, the world still faces many problems that threaten to destroy the fabric of global society.

Such threats have prompted studies aimed at providing ways of prioritizing them. One such endeavor was the Denmark-based Copenhagen Consensus Center, whose director, Bjorn Lomborg, delivered his "verdict" on the troubles at U.N. World Headquarters in New York, Monday.

His assessment was boiled down to 40 issues agreed upon by ambassadors from 24 countries assigned to the United Nations.

From U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, who recommended all U.N. international policy chiefs make use of future similar conferences, to Zambian Ambassador Tens Kapoma, who called the forum an important exercise for developing countries, all had an air of accomplishment.

But one of the world's most talked about issues -- global warming through greenhouse emissions -- plummeted to the bottom of the ladder.

As if to prove this, Lomborg highlighted some issues which had emerged at or near the top of the list. These include communicable diseases, education, governance and corruption, malnutrition, hunger, and HIV/AIDS. Global warming, he added, is not a cost-effective problem that could be resolved easily nor quickly.

"The question is -- what if we had an extra $50 billion; how would we spend that; on the immediate problems or problems that may not materialize for a long time?" Lomborg said.

A U.S. representative assigned to the U.N. Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Richard Terrell Miller, hinted that the United States, known to have the world's largest pollution base, had no intention of changing its stance on greenhouse gas emissions.

However, in Britain, a grim picture was presented Monday by former World Bank economist and the United Kingdom's climate change adviser Nicholas Stern.

He told the international community richer nations have to work toward reducing emission of greenhouse gases around the globe or face the horrible prospect of the world disintegrating within two decades.

The European Union, a firm supporter of the year-old Stern Review committee, welcomed the newly released report in a statement and restated its commitment to eliminating greenhouse gases from the continent.

Another greenhouse reduction proponent, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, emphasized the overwhelming and disastrous future consequences of not taking these threats seriously.

Blair concurred with Stern's recommendation calling for the development of an international cooperative arrangement where all countries, developed and underdeveloped, would collaborate to find a common ground for the reduction of gas emissions worldwide.

The question being asked now is why industrialized nations like the United States, China, India and Australia have chosen to do nothing.

Miller, while conceding global warming may constitute a threat in the distant future, failed to acknowledge it as a problem which may surface in a decade or two.

But a closer analysis of the report shows the United States has plenty of concerns in store should its forecasts come to pass.

China and India, projected to be major forces in the world economy, emit more than their fair share of greenhouse gases. The increase in global emissions, the report said, would make it impossible for countries least able to cope with the harmful effects of global warming to survive.

African nations vulnerable to corruption and recurring political instabilities are of particular concern. They are blessed with great forest resources but greed, growing industrialization and desire for profit have made many of these nations take to ridding their forests of trees.

South America faces similar problems, especially in the Amazon. Deforestation has had a dramatic effect on the climates of numerous countries in the region, most of which are already victims to bad weather. Ironically, things are no better in the United States, where the nation's Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 150 million Americans inhale bad outdoor air at some time during the year.

According to the Stern Review report and the Copenhagen conference, the solution to reducing global warming through greenhouse emissions lies with the United Nations. Only when all member nations commit to adopting a realistic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in their countries can the issue be resolved.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
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Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations Reach Record Levels In 2005
Geneva (AFP) Nov 3, 2006
Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, reached in 2005 the highest levels ever recorded, the UN's weather agency said Friday. The trend of growing emissions from industry, transport and power generation from burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal is set to continue despite an international agreement to cap emissions, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned.

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