Non-action will have ‘dreadful’ consequences

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iol scitehc july 18 Angela Merkel

REUTERS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Berlin - A failure to take action against climate change will have “dreadful consequences” for the whole world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday at international talks in Berlin on cutting climate emissions.

She was addressing diplomats from 35 nations who have been asked to jump-start climate talks, which are bogged down because the 193 members of the United Nations are deeply split on the issue.

Merkel said that if nothing was done beyond the current voluntary commitments to reduce emissions of gases, global mean temperatures would rise by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.

The target - to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees - would not be met, she said.

“There's nothing to be gained by playing for time,” Merkel told the officials, referring to the Stern Review, a 2006 report to the British government which argues that acting on climate change is the economically rational course.

“The Stern Review has made clear what dreadful consequences non-action would have,” she said.

The chancellor urged a UN climate-change conference later this year in Qatar to consider a short-term renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, the main world climate treaty, which runs out at the end of this year.

World nations are planning to set up, by 2015, a global treaty that would go into effect in 2020.

Merkel, who was Germany's environment minister in the 1990s and helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, said, “I must frankly say that a binding body of rules is music to my ears.”

Germany set up the separate strand of talks, known as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, amid frustration that the UN-led talks were not getting anywhere. China and the United States, two principal emitters, are part of the 35-nation panel.

Qatar, the host of the next UN climate conference, is to step up efforts to cut its own carbon emissions, the highest per capita in the world, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said at the Berlin meeting.

Al-Attiyah conceded that it would be “difficult” to get the nations of the world to unite behind action to cut the emissions that are a main cause of rising temperatures.

He said oil- and gas-rich Qatar would take action to use energy more efficiently and employ more from renewable sources. - Sapa-dpa

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