World Wildlife Fund
LONDON, U K (The Parliament) - The environmental charity WWF says this week's UN climate change talks present a "unique" opportunity for world leaders to move "beyond political posturing and lay the foundations for an ambitious global climate deal".
The summit in Durban, South Africa will attempt to agree the roadmap for a future global deal on reducing carbon emissions.
Delegates, including a large EU delegation, also aim to finalise some deals struck at last year's summit, including speeding up the roll-out of clean technology to developing nations.
As the talks got underway, WWF said climate negotiations are at a "crossroads, and governments have a lot of work to do in Durban if they want the world to know they are serious about addressing dangerous climate change".
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF's global climate and energy initiative said, "Climate change is a global threat that makes borders and politics irrelevant and it needs a united response from the world's governments.
"Right now, the story of worsening natural disasters caused by climate change will fill the pages of history books with a narrative of failed ambitions, short sightedness and a lack of courage from world leaders to deal with this threat."
She added, "Governments need to rewrite that story, and they need to start doing it in Durban."
Global greenhouse gas emissions increased to record levels in 2010 and WWD says the world currently is on track for global temperature increases exceeding the dangerous threshold of two degrees centigrade, with "catastrophic consequences".
WWF is advocating a peak and decline of emissions by 2015, which it says is "critical" to have a chance of staying below two degrees centigrade of global warming.
Smith added, "That means in Durban leaders have a choice. They can build on the progress achieved at last year's UN climate change negotiations in Cancún and act to prevent runaway climate change. Or they can allow short-term national interests to set us on a dangerous path.
"The costs of climate change are high; socially, environmentally and economically. They will increase with every single delay to act. But solving the climate change crisis isn't just about reducing emissions. We can shift the world to a new, more secure development path."
She went on, "This path includes clean, renewable energy and green jobs, less poverty, and a more sustainable use of our natural resources. It's within our grasp – a more secure future in which people live in harmony with nature and have ample food, clean water, and reliable sources of energy."
Her comments were endorsed by Tasneem Essop, WWF's head of climate advocacy, who said, "Here in Africa, the impacts of climate change for people are all too real.
"We need leaders to realise that they will be making decisions on African soil. They need to understand that we are at a critical turning point – the world is looking to them to provide certainty about the future of the Kyoto protocol and a future global climate regime."
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Updated 1455 days ago Article ID# 1334227
World Wildlife Fund