Leaders Must Grasp Opportunity to Shape Crucial Climate Deal

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World leaders meeting in New York for the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday 22 September have a historic opportunity to shape a ground breaking climate agreement that can help save the world from the ravages of runaway climate change, WWF said today

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Negotiations for the UN climate agreement have proceeded at a snail's pace this year, stalled by a lack of clear political leadership

World leaders meeting in New York for the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday 22 September have a historic opportunity to shape a ground breaking climate agreement that can help save the world from the ravages of runaway climate change, WWF said today.

WWF is urging wealthy and industrialised nations that have contributed the bulk of historical carbon emissions to lead the way in reducing them, while helping poorer countries to deal with the impacts.

"Negotiations for the UN climate agreement have proceeded at a snail's pace this year, stalled by a lack of clear political leadership," said WWF International Director General Jim Leape.

"Climate change is the foremost threat to our environment, our economy and our security. We will succeed in meeting this challenge only if the heads of state now gathering in New York commit themselves to bold action to reduce emissions, and to support those suffering already from climate change impacts."

"Some world leaders are still hesitating to embrace the low carbon economy. Moving to clean energy technologies is not just what the climate needs - it is the key to prosperity in this century."

"Scores of business leaders have come out in support of a strong climate deal, as have, most recently, investors representing a quarter of the world's annual GDP. It is time for our political leaders to step up."

Climate change is already hitting many of the poorest nations, and one crucial commitment needed from leaders of wealthy nations is to provide immediate finance and technical support to help these countries adapt.

"The countries that have contributed the least to climate change are now bearing the brunt of its impacts," Leape said. "Industrialized countries must find a way to mobilize immediate funding to help those countries adapt."

This week, WWF is looking to world leaders to declare that they are determined to forge a binding climate deal at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December - a deal which will ensure that global carbon emissions begin to decline within the next decade.
WWF is urging emissions reductions in developed countries at the upper levels of the 25-40 percent cuts by 2020 recommended by scientists for developed nations in order to keep the world well out of the red zone.

"Leaders of wealthy nations have promised to limit warming to below 2°C but have not yet committed to anything like the required level of emissions reductions," said Leape. "The UN Summit is the place to recognize that what's on the table now is not enough and that developed countries need to come back with more before Copenhagen."

"At the same time, leaders of major developing countries must make their commitment to climate action more visible to the world. Countries like China, India, Mexico and South Africa are already working very actively to combat climate change, but we still need to see them come forward and put these actions into a global climate framework."

For further information:

  •     Martin Hiller (English, German, French) mhiller (at) wwfint (dot)org, Mo: +41 793472256
  •     Steve Ertel (English), steve.ertel (at) wwfus (dot) org, Mo: +1 202 460 4641

THE UNFCCC CLIMATE TREATY:
At the UN conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, countries have to agree to a climate treaty which has the power to save the planet from devastating climate change. This means the treaty must be fair, ambitious, and binding.

WWF asks countries to:

  •     Agree to a strong, legally binding climate regime for the period after 2012, by amending the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing to a new Copenhagen Protocol;
  •     Ensure that global carbon emissions peak by 2017 at the latest and decline quickly thereafter, with an aim to cut global emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050;
  •     Agree to decarbonise developed country economies by 2050 and to reduce their emissions by 40% below 1990 levels in 2020 as a first step;
  •     Facilitate the transition to low-carbon economies in developing countries by providing 160bn USD annually as financing for mitigation and adaptation and by providing access to clean technologies;
  •     Support immediate action for climate change adaptation in developing countries;
  •     Support a zero net deforestation target by 2020.

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

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