World leaders say green thinking can help global economy


Davos : With the economic crisis likely to dominate much of 2009, world leaders in Davos have urged that climate change should remain in focus.

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and others attending the World Economic Forum warned against letting the economic worries overshadow the need to solve the climate issues as the two were interconnected.

Brown said that climate change would feature prominently at the next G20 meeting in April as it was “essential to recovery of the world economy”.

“The main obstacle during 2009 on the road to Copenhagen may be the financial crisis,” said Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen.

In December, representatives of most countries will gather in Copenhagen and attempt to knock out a new climate deal, but some environmentalists have expressed concern that not enough will be done before then to enable the nations to reach an agreement.

“We have to get it right in Copenhagen, there is no second chance here,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We must decide to put a price on carbon,” said Al Gore, the former US vice president, adding that President Barack Obama would play a positive role in combating climate change.

“He is pushing hard for dramatic and bold moves in the right direction,” said Gore, noting that the House of Representatives had passed a stimulus bill, “the largest component of which is a green stimulus”.

“We must appreciate the magnitude of change in United State’s leadership,” said Gore.

The previous administration in Washington was accused of hindering attempts to reach agreements on climate change.

Panellists at sessions in Davos said alternative energies, to replace oil, coal and other sources of power which emit carbon dioxide and create pollution, would also have economic advantages and help spur the economy, and could be an essential part of spurring the world out of the downturn.

Ban compared advancing green technologies to “killing two birds with one stone”.

Reaching the goals in Copenhagen, Rasmussen said, would require industrialised and developing nations to work together to set reduction targets.