Home Economy Politicians urged to act now as Bali summit opens

Politicians urged to act now as Bali summit opens

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS

Bali (Indonesia) : The world is watching participants at the UN summit on climate change closely and they have to show the political will to address this global menace, Rachmat Witoelar, environment minister of Indonesia and the new president of the conference of parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said here Monday.

Addressing delegates from 180 countries at the picturesque Bali International Convention Centre (BICC), Witoelar said: “The most severe effects of climate change are felt by the poor nations and the poorest in these nations”.

The key negotiation at the Dec 3-14 Bali summit – on legally binding caps to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that warm the earth’s atmosphere and lead to climate change – should be “started here and concluded by 2009”, the new president said. The current GHG emission caps – negotiated as part of the Kyoto Protocol – come to an end in 2012.

Witoelar said: “We have the science that tells us clearly how climate change is already affecting our lives and how it will worsen unless we address the issue urgently.

“We also have the market (in carbon trading) that has shown how the issue can be addressed. All we need now is the political will. We have to show it here as the world is watching us closely.”

The outgoing president of the conference of parties, Kivutha Kibuana of Kenya, said earlier that adaptation to climate change should move to the centre of the effort to address the menace as the effects of global warming were already being felt around the world, especially in tropical and sub-tropical countries, through falling agricultural output, water scarcity, more frequent and more serious droughts, floods and storms, sea level rise and a reduction in the world’s fish catch.

Kibuana rued that the clean development mechanism (CDM) that had been developed as part of the Kyoto Protocol to finance climate change combat by developing countries had by and large bypassed Africa.

He also said that transfer of green technologies from industrialized to developing countries had shown “limited progress, but the stage is now set for meaningful progress here”.

Kibuana also called upon delegates gathered for the opening session to “maintain the political momentum” that had been generated worldwide to address climate change and expand the creative space” in efforts to combat the danger.